SPOKANE, Wash. – Sam Lees and Kevin Crosno came off of the bench to spark Whitworth University to a strong second half in an 83-58 victory over visiting Waynesburg University in a non-conference men's basketball game on Saturday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Lees scored a career-high 15 points to lead the team in scoring, while Crosno drained three three-pointers for the Pirates, who improved to 3-0 this season.
After struggling to shoot from three-point range in the first half (4-19), Whitworth made 7-13 from beyond the arc in the second half to help break away from the Yellow Jackets (0-2). The Bucs also had several layup opportunities roll out.
"All we can control is the quality of our shots and our preparation to take good looks and our guys did that," said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. "I felt it was just a matter of time before our shots started to fall. You also have to be prepared to win games like that on the defensive end."
The Pirates won despite a season-low team shooting percentage of 42.4 (28-66) thanks to a stingy defense that held Waynesburg to only 30% (21-70) from the floor and 15% (3-20) from three-point range. The Yellow Jackets made 50% of their shots in a game at Whitman on Friday night.
After Whitworth opened a 14-point lead (28-14) with eight minutes left in the first half, the Yellow Jackets were able to fight back to within 35-31 on a three-pointer by Jon Knab with 1:07 left in the period. But Ben College and Lees hit two three-pointers in the final minute to give the Pirates a 41-31 lead at halftime.
Waynesburg briefly cut the lead back under ten points in the early going of the second half. Leading 44-35, the Pirates outscored the Yellow Jackets 21-10 over the next six minutes to grab a 65-45 lead with 9:21 to play. Whitworth eventually stretched the margin 29 points (80-51) after a Lees jumper with 5:22 to go.
Four starters hit double figures for the Pirates. Kyle Roach finished with 14 points and six assists, while College hit 11 points. Jared Christy and Jordan Lester scored 10 points apiece and grabbed seven and six rebounds, respectively.
Matt Popeck led Waynesburg with 12 points, Knab had 11 and Marcus Wallace finished with ten. Knab grabbed seven boards. The Jackets ended with a slight 48-46 lead in rebounding.
Tonight's game was the first-ever meeting between the Pirates and Yellow Jackets, who are from Pennsylvania and members of the Presidents' Athletic Conference.
Whitworth will travel to Hawaii over Thanksgiving Break for games against North Central (Ill.) and Arcadia (Pa.).