Pirate Men Head Back to NWC Play

Pirate Men Head Back to NWC Play

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team returns to Northwest Conference play as the calendar turns to 2018.  Whitworth will host Lewis & Clark College on Friday at 8:00 pm, followed by a home game against Pacific University on Saturday at 6:00 pm.  Friday's game will be televised locally on SWX.  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.

The Pirates:  Whitworth is 10-1 heading into 2018.  The Pirates went 8-1 against non-conference opponents, including wins over Wisconsin-Stout and Calvin College at the Whitworth Men's Classic last weekend.

The Pirates never trailed in last Friday's win over Stout, building a 19-point lead in the first half.  But the Blue Devils closed to within three points in the second half before Whitworth came away with the 79-71 victory.  The Pirates finished with a 42-31 edge in rebounding, led by Jared Christy's ten boards.  Whitworth shot 53% from the field and had four players in double figures.  Kyle Roach scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Ben College scored 21 points while nailing five three-pointers.  Garrett Hull scored 10 points in his first career start at Whitworth and Christy made it his fourth double-double of the season with ten points.

The Pirates played their best 20 minutes of the season in the second half of Saturday night's 88-58 win over Calvin College.  Trailing 32-31, Whitworth outscored Calvin 57-26 after halftime, shooting 68% from the field and 64% from three-point range.  The Pirates finished the game with 20 assists on 33 made shots, led by Roach's seven assists.  Roach finished with 25 points for the second game in a row and added five rebounds and two steals to his stats line.  Sam Lees came off of the bench for a career-high 22 points, making 8-9 field goals including all four of his three-point attempts.  Ben Bishop finished with a dozen points.

The Opponents:  Lewis & Clark College comes into the week 4-7 overall and 0-2 in the Northwest Conference.  The Pioneers dropped a pair of games in Southern California last week, falling 87-64 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps last Wednesday and 80-73 at Chapman on Thursday.  Despite their early struggles, L&C does not beat itself.  The Pioneers lead the league in fewest team turnovers per game (10.9) and in fewest personal fouls per game (15.3).  Sophomore guard Andrew Vickers, who was honorable mention All-NWC as a freshman in 2016-17, leads the team with 15.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.  Three others average double figures.  Junior guard Kyle Owens averages 10.9 points per game and makes 42.7% of his three-pointers.  Sophomore forward Niko Bricker adds 10.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.  Junior guard Mak Hutson contributes 10.3 points per game.  Dinari Foreman, an All-American at L&C in his playing days, is in his seventh season as the head coach of the Pioneers.  Whitworth swept Lewis & Clark last season, winning 66-61 in Portland and 82-73 in Spokane.  The Pirates have won the last eight meetings between the schools.

Pacific University is 8-3 overall and 2-0 in the NWC heading into Friday night's game at Whitman College.  The Boxers shot out of the gate 8-0, but they have dropped their last three games.  The most recent loss was a 96-93 setback at home to Elmhust College on December 29th.  Pacific has shot the ball very well this season, leading the NWC in team field goal percentage (47.8) and team free throw percentage (77.6).  The Boxers are second in team three-point percentage (38.8).  Four Pacific players average double figures in scoring, led by junior guard Brevin Brown who has posted 16.6 points per game despite the fact that he does not start.  Sophomore guard Davis Holley and senior guard Jay Merriweather add 13.7 and 13.6 points per game, respectively.  Senior forward Nate Olowo leads the NWC in rebounds (9.4 per game) to go along with 12.8 points per contest.  Former assistant Jerod Gibson is the interim head coach in 2017-18 after Tim Cleary retired in September.  Last season each team won on the other's home floor.  Pacific won 90-88 in Spokane while Whitworth won 63-58 in Forest Grove, Oregon.

National Ranking:  The D3hoops.com poll will update on Tuesday night.  Whitworth was 7th in the Week 4 poll (Dec. 18).  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. 

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 301-55 (.845), 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 152-15 (.910) 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 14.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 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 45.8% of his shots from three-point range, including a 9-13 effort against Gallaudet on November 17th.  College leads the team in scoring average (17.8 ppg) so far this season, which currently ranks fourth 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 11.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.  He is second in the Northwest Conference in rebounding and double-doubles (4).  His 16 rebounds in the win over Colorado College on December 10th 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 play at Whitman College on Tuesday, January 9th, before returning to host George Fox on Saturday, January 13th

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.