SPOKANE, Wash. – The 9th-ranked Whitworth University men's basketball team will return home to host Colorado College on Sunday afternoon in the Pirates' only contest heading into final exams. Tip off for the matinee is scheduled for 1:00 pm. Sunday's game 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 game.
The Pirates: Whitworth opened Northwest Conference play with a pair of road wins at Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran last weekend. The Pirates improved to 7-0 overall and moved up to 9th in this week's D3hoops.com top-25 poll.
Whitworth trailed for most of the first half at previously-unbeaten Puget Sound on Friday night as the Loggers took several six-point leads in the opening 20 minutes. The Pirates picked up their game over the final 25 minutes of the contest and came away with a 95-84 win. Whitworth was able to score several easy baskets after navigating the Puget Sound press and ended the game with a 55% shooting percentage. Ben College scored 18 of his 22 points after halftime to lead the Pirates in scoring. Jordan Lester added 20 points, six assists and four steals. Ben Bishop scored 17 points and Jared Christy had 16 points as Whitworth earned its 20th consecutive win over the Loggers.
Whitworth won a different style of game on Saturday at Pacific Lutheran, earning a 26th straight win over the Lutes with an 88-70 victory. The Pirates shot well from three-point range, making 41.4% from beyond the arc. They also got to the free throw line, where they hit 20 of 27 attempts (74.1%). Ben College had another big night, and again most of the damage was done in the second half. He scored 21 of his 29 points after halftime and went 6-11 from three-point range. Jared Christy added a double double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, the highest rebound total for any Pirate player this season. Ben Bishop finished with ten points.
College Honored: Ben College is the Northwest Conference men's basketball student-athlete of the week for his efforts in the Pirates' road wins at Puget Sound and PLU. College scored 51 points, but most impressively, he did most of his damage in the second half of each contest. He scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half of the win at Puget Sound. He scored 21 of his 29 points at PLU after halftime. College hit 62.5% of his shots from the field and averaged better than a point per minute played over the weekend.
The Opponents: Colorado College is 3-1 this year, heading into Friday night's game at top-ranked Whitman College. The Tigers play in the Southern Collegiate Athletics Conference and are coming off of an 11-15 season in 2016-17. But Colorado College found its stride after beginning SCAC play in the new year and went 10-4 during the league schedule. The Tigers eventually fell to Texas Lutheran in the semifinals of the SCAC tournament. Point guard Eric Houska, now a senior, and 6-7 forward John Hatch, also now a senior, earned first team All-SCAC recognition last season and Hatch was voted as the league's Defensive Player of the Year. Houska currently averages 15.5 points per game and dishes 6.25 assists per contest. Hatch is adding 9.3 points and 5.3 boards per game. The 2017-18 breakthrough player for Colorado College is sophomore wing CooXooEli Black, who is scoring 14.5 points per game and making over 50% of his shots from the field. Whitworth is 2-2 against Colorado College. The Pirates won a pair of games during the 2015-16 season, defeating the Tigers 73-66 in Colorado Springs and then winning 72-56 in a neutral-site game at George Fox University.
National Ranking: The Pirates moved up from 13th to 9th in this week's d3hoops.com top-25 poll (Dec. 4). The Pirates have appeared in 139 regular season D3hoops.com polls and currently have been ranked in 38 regular season polls in a row, the second-longest streak in Division III behind Marietta (Ohio).
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 298-54 (.846), 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 149-14 (.914) at home, including the last seven in a row.
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 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 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 26-54 (48.1%) from three-point range through seven games, including a 9-13 effort against Gallaudet on November 17th. College leads the team in scoring average (20.7 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 has averaged 12.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this year and has two double-doubles.
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 14.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game this season. 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 break for final exams next week, the resume action on December 19th when Wheaton College (Ill.) visits the Fieldhouse.
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.