SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team will close out the 2017-18 regular season this weekend by hosting Linfield College and Willamette University in a pair of Northwest Conference games. The Pirates play Linfield on Friday night at 8:00 pm and host Willamette on Saturday 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.
Watch the Whitworth men's basketball schedule for other live links to this week's games.
The Pirates: 4th-ranked Whitworth is now 20-3 overall and 12-2 in the NWC and the Bucs have clinched their 13th 20-win season in a row. The Pirates dropped a heart-breaking game to #1-ranked Whitman last Tuesday night then rallied to win at George Fox on Saturday.
Kyle Roach poured in 45 points, the second-highest single-game total in school history, but top-ranked Whitman edged Whitworth 100-99 in the Fieldhouse last Tuesday. The visiting Blues got a pair of free throws from 2017 NWC Player of the Year Tim Howell with 0.9 seconds to play in the game to pull out the win. Ben College had drained a three-pointer with 13 seconds left that gave Whitworth a 99-98 lead in the see-saw battle. The Pirates made 56.5% of their shots from the floor. Roach made 18 of 29 shots from the field, 4-8 from beyond the arc. He added nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Jared Christy had his 10th double-double of the season with 18 points and ten rebounds. Garrett Hull finished with 15 points, while College had 14. Whitman has won seven straight in the series.
Whitworth rallied from a 12-point, second half deficit to win 101-98 in overtime at George Fox on Friday night. The Pirates lacked some energy after Tuesday night's emotional game, but still managed to pull out their 20th win of the season. Garret Hull led the way with a career-high 24 points, making 6-10 from three-point range. He had a big three-pointer during an 8-0 run that tied the game 80-80 after the Bucs had trailed 62-50 with 13 minutes to play. Hull added six steals and five rebounds. Ben Bishop scored 18 points and Jared Christy totaled 16 points and seven rebounds. Kyle Roach had 13 points and a team-high eight assists. Whitworth won its ninth in a row against George Fox.
NWC Tournament Picture: The top four teams in the final Northwest Conference standings will qualify for the 2017 NWC Tournament and those four spots are locked up. Top-ranked Whitman (14-0 NWC) clinched the league's #1 seed last week while Whitworth (12-2) clinched a playoff spot, but not the #2 seed yet. The final two spots are also clinched – Linfield (10-4) is currently third while Puget Sound (9-5) is fourth. If Linfield wins at Whitworth and Whitman this weekend and Whitworth loses both of its games, the Wildcats will claim the #2 seed based on NWC tiebreakers. Linfield can also finish in fourth place if the Wildcats lose both games and Puget Sound wins twice.
The Opponents: Linfield College comes into the weekend 16-6 overall and 10-4 in the NWC. The Wildcats are alone in third place in the NWC standings, but could finish in a tie for second or drop to fourth place. Last Friday Puget Sound pulled out a 76-71 overtime victory over Linfield to move within one game of the Wildcats in the standings. The 'Cats responded with a dominating 84-54 win over Lewis & Clark on Saturday night. Linfield leads the NWC in scoring defense (65.5 ppg allowed) and in defensive field goal percentage (40.3%). The Wildcats have a very balanced lineup with freshman guard Dempsey Roggenbuck leading his squad in scoring at 11.8 points per game. Senior center Jordan Clark adds 10.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Junior guard Riley Bruil scores 9.5 ppg and makes an NWC-best 46% of his three-pointers. Whitworth defeated Linfield 63-55 in McMinnville, Oregon on January 20th. Kyle Roach scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half while Jared Christy had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Pirates won their 20th straight game against the Wildcats.
Willamette University has been a tough game for every NWC opponent this season. The Bearcats are 11-12 overall and 6-8 in the NWC heading into a game at Whitman on Friday night. Last weekend Willamette won 70-64 at Pacific (Ore.) on Friday and then beat Pacific Lutheran 60-46 at home on Saturday. The Bearcats lead the NWC in rebounding margin (+5.6) and they are second in the NWC in blocked shots per game (3.1). Junior forward Jordan Jenkins is posting an All-NWC kind of season by averaging 14.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Senior guards Nico Troplent and Brendon McCullough add 11.6 points and 10.0 points per game, respectively. Whitworth led most of the way, but still had to escape a last-second shot by McCullough to win 67-65 at Willamette on January 19th for the Pirates' 16th straight victory in the series. Kyle Roach scored 22 points while Sam Lees provided a spark off the bench with 10 points and five rebounds.
Not the record: Kyle Roach's 45 points vs. Whitman on February 6th was the second-most points in school history. The Whitworth single-game record is 51 points set by Rod McDonald against Redlands in 1966. McDonald is the second-leading scorer in school history with 1,807 points from 1964-67. A second-team NAIA All-American, the Seattle Supersonics took McDonald in the ninth round of the NBA draft. McDonald served two years in the U.S. Army, then played three years for the Utah Stars of the ABA (1971-73). He was inducted into the Whitworth Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame in 2000.
Winning on the Oregon Trail: Whitworth made 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 Feb. 2-3 and picked up wins over Pacific and Lewis & Clark. They completed the Oregon circuit with a win at George Fox February 9th. Whitworth has won its last 20 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 is 4th for the second straight week in the most recent D3hoops.com top-25 poll (Feb. 12th). The Pirates have appeared in 146 regular season D3hoops.com polls and have been ranked in 45 regular season polls in a row, currently the longest streak in Division III.
Baker's Dozen: With its win at George Fox on January 9th, Whitworth extended 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), with 20, has a longer run of consecutive 20-win seasons in NCAA Division III men's basketball. Wooster is currently 19-4.
More Than A Decade of Dominance: Since the beginning of the 2005-06 season (12+ years) the Pirates are 311-57 (.845), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level. Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 144 of its last 156 (.923).
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 157-16 (.908) 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 78-15 (.839) away from home, 60-12 (.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 is the primary focus of most opponents' defensive efforts in 2017-18. Despite that focus, Roach is averaging 19.4 points (3rd in the NWC), 5.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season. He scored a career-high 45 points on February 6th vs. #1-ranked Whitman, one game after he had 39 points in the Pirates' win at Lewis & Clark on February 3rd. Roach recently 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% of his shots from three-point range (6th in the NWC), including a 9-13 effort against Gallaudet on November 17th. College is second the team in scoring average (16.0 ppg) so far this season, which ranks seventh in the NWC. He scored a career-high 31 points in a win over Gallaudet on November 17th.
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 at PLU 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 12.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He ranks second in the Northwest Conference in rebounding average and leads the league in double-doubles (10). 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.
Stepping Up: Garrett Hull became Whitworth's starting point guard on December 29, 2017 after an injury to Jordan Lester. As Hull has become used to the role, his impact on the Pirates' season has steadily increased. He scored a career-high 24 points in Whitworth's win at George Fox on February 9th, one game after had had 15 points, four steals and only four turnovers against Whitman's heavy pressure on January 6th. He leads Whitworth in steals per game (2.1) and adds 9.0 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest. Hull came to Whitworth after playing two seasons for the Community Colleges of Spokane.
Got the Point?: Jordan Lester made an immediate impact for the Pirates as point guard over the first nine games of the season. 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 open the Northwest Conference tournament on Thursday, February 22nd against either Puget Sound or Linfield. That game will be at 7:00 pm.
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.