#4 Pirate Men Host #1 Whitman, Travel to GFU

#4 Pirate Men Host #1 Whitman, Travel to GFU

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team heads into the home stretch of the 2017-18 season, beginning with a Tuesday night showdown against top-ranked Whitman College followed by a road game at George Fox University on Friday.  Tuesday's game is scheduled to start at 8:00 pm, while Friday is expected to tip off at 6:00 pm.  Both of Whitworth's games are the second halves of NWC doubleheaders with the women and will be broadcast live in Spokane on KSBN 1230 am and on the internet at KSBN.net.

Tuesday's game will be televised locally on cable station SWX.  Sam Adams will call play-by-play while Jeff Norton gives color commentary.  SWX stands for Sports & Weather Right Now and is owned by local NBC affiliate KHQ channel 6. SWX can be seen both over-the-air and through some cable services in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, and Yakima viewership areas. In the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area, SWX is found on digital channel 6.2, on Comcast channel 112 in Spokane and Time Warner channel 306 in North Idaho. Click here for a complete list of station numbers throughout the Eastern Washington/North Idaho region.

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

The Pirates:  Fourth-ranked Whitworth improved to 19-2 overall and 11-1 in the NWC following road victories over Pacific (Ore.) and Lewis & Clark last weekend.

The Pirates played one of their most complete games of the season in Friday's 89-67 win at Pacific University.  Whitworth shot a season-high 57% from the field (32-56), including 59% (10-17) from three-point range.  The Pirates held the Boxers to 39% from the floor and 28% from beyond the arc.  Whitworth also finished with a 39-33 advantage in rebounding.  Four Bucs reached double figures in scoring, led by Ben College (20 points) and Garrett Hull (19 points).  College was 3-3 from three-point range, while Hull added four rebounds, four assists and four steals.  Kyle Roach scored 16 points and Ben Bishop finished with 11.  Roach added five rebounds and four steals.  The win gave Whitworth a season sweep of Pacific.

Kyle Roach posted the highest single-game scoring output for a Whitworth player in more than three decades in the Pirates' 76-70 win at Lewis & Clark on Saturday night.  Whitworth led for most of the game and built a lead that reached 16 points early in the second half.  But the Pioneers rallied to within four points late in the game before Ben College answered with a big three-pointer to stretch the margin back to seven.  Roach scored a career-high 39 points, making 14 of 22 from the field and 11-12 at the free throw line.  He beat his previous career high of 32 points set earlier this season against George Fox.  He also became the 28th player in Whitworth history to surpass 1,000 career points in the win.  Garrett Hull posted his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.  Jared Christy finished with ten points.  The win was Whitworth's tenth in a row over L&C.

The Opponents:  Whitman College comes into Tuesday night's game 21-0 and 12-0 in the NWC.  The Blues take an NWC-record 36-game conference winning streak into the contest and they have been the unanimous #1 team in the D3hoops.com poll all season long.  Whitman leads the NWC in scoring average (101.4 ppg), field goal percentage (48.6), three-point percentage (39.1), and assists per game (17.1) on offense, and in steals per game (16.1) and blocks per game (4.3) on defense.  The Blues lead all of NCAA Division III in scoring margin (+26.0).  Head coach Eric Bridgeland is in his 10th season building Whitman into a national powerhouse.  Senior guard Tim Howell, the 2017 NWC Player of the Year, is averaging 17.0 points per game.  Junior guard Joey Hewitt leads the team, and ranks third in the NWC, in scoring at 18.8 points per game.  The most impactful player on the team may be junior wing Austin Butler, who leads the NWC in assists (4.1 apg), steals (3.4 spg) and blocks (1.8 bpg) to go along with 7.8 points per contest.  He also leads the league in field goal percentage (68.7).  Whitman defeated Whitworth 91-75 in Walla Walla on January 9th in a game the Pirates led for the first 30 minutes.  Kyle Roach scored 21 points to lead Whitworth, while Ben College added 16.  Hewitt led Whitman with 20 points.  The Blues have won the last six games in the series.

George Fox University is 6-15 overall and 2-10 in the NWC heading into Friday night's game against Whitworth.  The Bruins won 112-87 at Pacific Lutheran last Friday before dropping a 101-100 heartbreaker at Puget Sound on Saturday.  George Fox is a dangerous offensive team that can really shoot.  The Bruins rank second in the NWC in three-pointers made per game (10.5) and in three-point percentage (39.0).  Head coach Maco Hamilton is in his fifth season at GFU.  Junior guard Mason Green-Richards is second in the NWC in scoring average (20.4 ppg) and adds 3.0 assists per game.  Senior guard Thomas Rico contributes 17.2 points per contest and ranks fourth in the NWC in three-point percentage (43.7%).  Redshirt freshman guard Ryan Lacey scores 13.4 points per game.  Whitworth defeated George Fox 89-77 at home on January 13th behind a (then) career-high 32 points by Kyle Roach and Jared Christy's double-double of 10 points and 17 rebounds.  The Pirates have won the last eight games against the Bruins.

Hitting the Oregon Trail:  Whitworth will make three trips to Oregon over the span of four weekends this season.  The Pirates went to Oregon on January 19th and 20th and defeated Willamette and Linfield.  The Bucs headed back to Oregon last weekend and picked up wins over Pacific and Lewis & Clark.  They complete the Oregon circuit with a game at George Fox this Friday.  Whitworth has won its last 19 NWC games in the state.

High Point Production:  The 111 points Whitworth scored in the January 27th win over Puget Sound were the most points for the Pirates in one game since a 112-100 double-overtime win over Whitman on January 8, 2013.  It was the most Whitworth points in a regulation game since a 115-69 win over Willamette on Feb. 11, 2011.  The school record for points in a game is 123 points vs. Northwest College on November 17, 1987.

National Ranking:  Whitworth moved up one spot to 4th in the most recent D3hoops.com top-25 poll (Feb. 5).  The Pirates have appeared in 146 regular season D3hoops.com polls and currently have been ranked in 45 regular season polls in a row, now the longest streak in Division III.   

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. 

Baker's Dozen?:  Whitworth is one victory away from extending its school record for consecutive seasons with at least 20 victories to 13 in a row in 2017-18.  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 310-56 (.847), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.  Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 143 of its last 154 (.928).

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 157-15 (.913) 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 77-15 (.834) away from home, 59-12 (.830) 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 is the primary focus of most opponents' defensive efforts in 2017-18.  Despite that focus, Roach is averaging 18.5 points (4th in the NWC), 5.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists this season.  He scored a career-high 39 points in the Pirates' win at Lewis & Clark on February 3rd, the highest single-game total for any player in the NWC this season.  In the same game Roach became the 28th player in Whitworth history to surpass 1,000 career points. 

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) last season.  Roach also finished second on the team in rebounding (5.2 rpg).  Roach was the league's men's basketball Student-Athlete of the Week twice (Nov. 28, Dec. 26) in 2016-17. 

Bull's Eye Ben:  Ben College is picking up where he left off last season.  He is making 43.9% of his shots from three-point range (3rd in the NWC), including a 9-13 effort against Gallaudet on November 17th.  College is second the team in scoring average (16.3 ppg) so far this season, which ranks seventh 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 12.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.  He leads the Northwest Conference in rebounding and in double-doubles (9).  His 17 rebounds in the win over George Fox on January 13th 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?:  Jordan Lester made an immediate impact for the Pirates as point guard over the first ten game.  The junior transfer from Robert Morris (Pa.) was injured in the final ten seconds of the Pirates' loss to Wheaton College and will miss the remainder of the season.  He averaged 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, leading the league in assists at that point.  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 24 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 finish out the regular season with home games against Linfield College and Willamette University on February 16th and 17th, respectively.      

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.