SPOKANE, Wash. – The 7th-ranked Whitworth University men's basketball team will emerge from final exams week with a home game against Wheaton College this coming Tuesday night. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 pm. Tuesday'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 next week's game.
The Pirates: Whitworth defeated Colorado College last Sunday in its only game of the week, improving to 8-0 this season.
The Bucs led for the final 35 minutes of the game and by as many as 21 points with around five minutes to play before coming away with an 85-73 victory over visiting Colorado College in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. The Pirate defense held the Tigers to less the 39% shooting from the field and forced 16 turnovers. Jared Christy led the way with a double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds, the highest single game rebound total for any Whitworth player this season. Christy's rebound total is the highest by any Whitworth player since Nate Montgomery pulled down 18 boards at Puget Sound on February 28th, 2009. Ben College also scored 17 points, sinking four three-pointers. Jordan Lester finished with 16 points and dished seven assists. The Pirates made 14 three-pointers in the game and went 19-23 at the free throw line.
The Opponents: Wheaton College, from Wheaton, Illinois, is a member of the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. The Thunder are the second team from the powerful CCIW that the Pirates will see play in the non-conference schedule, following a matchup against North Central (Ill.) on November 24th. Wheaton is 6-2 overall and 2-1 in the CCIW heading into a home game against Alma (Mich.) on Saturday night. The Thunder are outscoring opponents 82.0 – 77.2 this season and they rank among the top 25 teams in DIII statistics in both blocked shots per game (20th at 5.1 bpg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (23rd – 1.43). Junior guard Aston Francis is the reigning two-time CCIW Player of the Week. He is averaging 27.9 points (#3 in NCAA DIII) and 4.9 assists per game. Senior guard Ricky Samuelson adds 19.5 points per game and makes over 60% of his shots from the field, including 69% from three-point range. Whitworth and Wheaton have played twice in recent history as Division III members. The Thunder defeated the Pirates 76-67 on March 14, 2008 in the third round of the NCAA DIII tournament at Hope College (Mich.). One season earlier Whitworth won 70-67 at Wheaton's Lee Pfund Classic tournament in November of 2006.
National Ranking: The Pirates moved up from 9th to 7th in this week's d3hoops.com top-25 poll (Dec. 11). The Pirates have appeared in 140 regular season D3hoops.com polls and currently have been ranked in 39 regular season polls in a row, the second-longest streak in Division III behind Marietta (Ohio).
Running the Table: Whitworth has won 30 consecutive regular season, non-conference games in a row. It is the longest current streak in NCAA Division III basketball. The Pirates have 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 299-54 (.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 150-14 (.914) at home, including the last eight 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 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 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 30-63 (47.6%) from three-point range through eight games, including a 9-13 effort against Gallaudet on November 17th. College leads the team in scoring average (20.3 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 12.6 points and 8.8 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 14.6 points, 5.5 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 break for the Christmas holiday next week, then host the Whitworth Men's Classic on December 29th and 30th with games against Calvin College and Wisconsin-Stout.
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.