Men's Hoops to Host Whitworth Classic

Men's Hoops to Host Whitworth Classic

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team hosts the Whitworth Men's Classic sponsored by Quality Inn Oakwood this week.  These are the final two regular-season, non-conference games of 2017-18 for the Pirates.  Whitworth will take on Wisconsin-Stout on Friday at 8:00 pm, followed by a game against Calvin College on Saturday at 6:00 pm.  Fellow Northwest Conference member Puget Sound is the fourth school participating in the Whitworth Classic.  Both of Whitworth's games will be broadcast live in Spokane on KSBN 1230 am and on the internet at KSBN.net.

Watch the Whitworth men's basketball schedule for other live links to this week's games.

Whitworth Classic Schedule:  Puget Sound and Calvin will play the first game on Friday at 6:00 pm, followed by Whitworth vs. Wisconsin-Stout.  On Saturday, Puget Sound and Stout will tip off at 4:00 pm, followed by Whitworth-Calvin at 6:00 pm.

The Pirates:  Whitworth is coming off of Christmas break and its first loss of the season.  The 7th-ranked Pirates fell 92-84 to visiting Wheaton on December 19th in their final game before the holiday.

Whitworth played from behind most of the night against Wheaton.  The Thunder held the Pirates to 19.2% (5-26) from three-point range and finished with a 43-37 edge in rebounding.  Whitworth got within 78-77 with three minutes to go after a three-point play by Jared Christy.  But Wheaton responded with an 8-1 run to put the game away.  Jordan Lester finished with 24 points, five steals and four assists, while Kyle Roach had 21 points.  Christy totaled 10 points and eight rebounds.  The Pirates had their worst night of the season from the free throw line, making only 17 of 30 attempts (56.7%).

The Opponents:  The University of Wisconsin-Stout (located in Menomonie) is 6-3.  The Blue Devils are members of the powerful Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (WIAC), which begins league games after the New Year.  Wisconsin-Stout has not played a game since an 84-57 win over Finlandia on December 10th.  Whitworth and Stout have one common opponent this season – Colorado College.  The Tigers defeated the Blue Devils 82-80 in overtime on November 18th in Menomonie and lost 85-73 at Whitworth on December 10th.  A pair of senior guards leads Stout in scoring this season.  Isaac Elliot averages 16.1 points per game and makes 46% of his three-pointers.  Sam Ortman adds 12.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest.  Ellie Andrist, in his 18th year at Stout, is the head coach.  He is 459-426 in his 28th year overall as a head coach.  Whitworth last played the Blue Devils on December 27, 2009 in Spokane and came away with a 104-84 victory.

Calvin College, a member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, is 3-6 this season.  The Knights earned an impressive 79-75 overtime victory over Carthage College in their most recent game on December 16th.  Calvin and Whitworth also have one common opponent this year – Wheaton College.  Calvin defeated the Thunder 96-86 on November 21st, while Wheaton handed the Pirates their first loss off the season on December 19th.  Kevin Vande Streek is in his 21st year as head coach at Calvin and has won 414 games with the Knights.  He guided Calvin to an NCAA Division III title in 2000 and back to the national semifinals in 2005.  Freshman guard Luke Morrison is the Knights' leading scorer this season at 15.0 points per game.  Junior forward Austin Bykerk adds 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.  Whitworth last played Calvin on December 29, 2015 in Las Vegas and came away with a 68-65 win.

National Ranking:  D3hoops.com did not update its poll this week because of the holidays, so Whitworth remains 7th, where the Bucs had been ranked in the week 3 (Dec. 11) and week 4 (Dec. 18) polls.  The Pirates have appeared in 141 regular season D3hoops.com polls and currently have been ranked in 40 regular season polls in a row, the second-longest streak in Division III behind Marietta (Ohio).   

Team Captains: The members of the Whitworth basketball team and coaching staff have voted Kyle Roach, Ben Bishop and Jordan Lester as captains for the 2017-18 season. 

The Run is Over:  Whitworth had won 30 consecutive regular season, non-conference games in a row until the loss to Wheaton.  It was the longest active streak in NCAA Division III basketball.  The Pirates had not lost a non-conference game since November 22, 2014. 

20 By 12:  Whitworth extended its school record for consecutive seasons with at least 20 victories to 12 in a row in 2016-17.  Prior to this current streak, the most 20-win seasons in a row the Pirates had ever had was two (on three different occasions).  Only Wooster (OH), now with 20, has a longer current run of consecutive 20-win seasons in NCAA Division III men's basketball. 

More Than A Decade of Dominance:  Since the beginning of the 2005-06 season (12+ years) the Pirates are 299-55 (.844), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.  Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 134 of its last 144 (.930).

Home-Sweet-Home:  Whitworth has been stellar in the Whitworth Fieldhouse since the 1990's. During the decade of the 1990s and 2000's Whitworth won more than 84% of its home games.  But since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, the Bucs are 150-15 (.909) at home.

The Pirates have had two home-court winning streaks of more than 40 games since 1990.  A 41-game home court winning streak from early 2009 until December of 2011 was the second-longest in Pirate history. The school record for consecutive home victories is 43, beginning during the 1994-95 season and ending during the 1997-98 season.

Road Warriors: As good as Whitworth is at home, the Pirates have been almost as good away from the Whitworth Fieldhouse during Matt Logie's tenure as head coach.  Since the start of the 11-12 season, Whitworth is 73-14 (.839) away from home, 55-11 (.833) in true road games.

The Main Man:  Kyle Roach, the only returnee from Whitworth's starting lineup in 2016-17, earned second team All-Northwest Conference recognition last season.  He will be the primary focus of most opponents' defensive efforts in 2017-18.  Despite that focus, Roach has averaged 11.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists this season.

Roach finished fourth in the NWC in scoring average (15.9 ppg) while making 54.1% of his field goals (5th in the NWC) and 43.3% of his three pointers (6th in the NWC).  Roach also finished second on the team in rebounding (5.2 rpg).  Roach was selected as the league's men's basketball Student-Athlete of the Week twice this season (Nov. 28, Dec. 26). 

Bull's Eye Ben:  Ben College is picking up where he left off last season.  He is making 44.9% of his shots from three-point range through nine games, including a 9-13 effort against Gallaudet on November 17th.  College leads the team in scoring average (18.6 ppg) so far this season, which currently ranks third in the NWC.

College finished second in the Northwest Conference in three-point field goal percentage in 2016-17, making 46.5% of his shots from beyond the arc.  He was 40-86 from long distance and his best game came on December 9th against Covenant College when he went 6-8 from three-point range and scored 28 points.

Coming Home: Jared Christy came into this season with prior experience playing college games in the Whitworth Fieldhouse, but it was previously all for Pacific Lutheran.  Christy earned second team All-NWC recognition as a sophomore in 2016-17 after leading the league in rebounding by a wide margin (11.2 rpg).  He added 13.8 points per contest.  Christy is from Spokane and played high school basketball at Ferris.  He averages 12.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, leading the Northwest Conference in rebounding and double-doubles (3).  His 16 rebounds in the win over Colorado College are the most for any Whitworth player since Nate Montgomery had 18 boards in a win at Puget Sound on Feb. 28, 2009.

Got the Point?:  New starting point guard Jared Lester has made an immediate impact for the Pirates.  The junior transfer from Robert Morris (Pa.) has averaged 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this season.  He leads the league in assists, and is third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.31).  He missed a triple-double in Whitworth's win over Gallaudet on November 17 by a single assist.

On the Air Again:  Whitworth's games are once again carried live this season on KSBN 1230am in Spokane.  The relationship between Pirate athletics and KSBN goes back to 1994, a span of 22 years.  Bud Nameck is in his second season as the voice of Whitworth basketball.  The co-host of 920 KXLY radio's Morning News, Nameck has more than 30 years of experience calling college basketball at Gonzaga University and Washington State.

Coming up next:  Whitworth will return to Northwest Conference play for the rest of the regular season, beginning with home games against Lewis & Clark (Jan. 5) and Pacific (Jan. 6).

The Coach: Matt Logie leads NCAA Division III in winning percentage by active coaches with at least five years of experience.  Logie heads into the 2017-18 season with a record of 149-25 and a winning percentage of .856 over his first six seasons at Whitworth.  He also accomplished what no other coach had ever done in NCAA Division III history – win 100 games in his first four seasons as a head coach.  He is a three-time NWC Coach of the Year honoree, earning the award in 2012, 2014 and 2015.  He is 97-11 against the NWC, counting each of the last six conference tournaments.  Logie has guided several players to post-season honors in his four seasons, including Third Team NABC All-America recognition for George Valle (2016), Kenny Love (2015) and Dustin McConnell (2014).  Logie has been a finalist for the Glen Robinson Division III men's basketball Coach of the Year award twice in his career (2016 and 2013)

Logie previously worked eight seasons as an assistant coach at Lehigh University (Pa.), his alma-mater. He also spent a season as an assistant coach at Kent State. In 2010 Logie was named as the top Patriot League Assistant Coach in men's basketball in a Foxsports.com Coaches Poll and in 2011 he was recognized as one of the top 50 assistants in Mid-to-Low Major college basketball by Hoopscoop on-line magazine. Logie is originally from Mercer Island, Washington where he won a pair of state basketball championships while playing for his grandfather, Ed Pepple, a legend in Washington's high school ranks who won 952 games and four state titles in 49 years of coaching.