Bucs Prep for Top-Ranked Blues, George Fox

Bucs Prep for Top-Ranked Blues, George Fox

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team will face its stiffest test of the season when the Pirates travel to top-ranked Whitman College on Tuesday night.  Whitworth will return home to host George Fox University on Saturday.  Tuesday's game will tip off at 8:00 pm, while Saturday's contest is scheduled for 6:00 pm.  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:  8th-ranked Whitworth is 12-1 overall and 4-0 in the NWC following home wins over Lewis & Clark and Pacific (Ore.) last weekend.

The Pirates led for 39 minutes of Friday's 98-91 win over visiting Lewis & Clark College, building a 21-point lead in the first half and holding a 52-36 advantage at halftime.  But the Pioneers were able to score 55 second-half points to tighten the final margin of victory.  Whitworth shot 50% from the floor and 37.5% from three-point range.  Kyle Roach scored 28 points and dished five assists, while Ben College scored 28 points while making 5-7 from three-point range.  Jared Christy finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.  The Pirates finished the game with a 42-37 edge in rebounding.

Whitworth had a more consistent defensive effort in Saturday night's 83-71 win over visiting Pacific University.  The Pirates held the Boxers to only 39.1% shooting overall and 26% from beyond the three-point line.  Whitworth got to the free throw line, making 26 of 31 (84%).  The 26 free throws were a season-high.  Kyle Roach scored 25 points and grabbed five rebounds.  Jared Christy totaled 15 points and seven boards, while Ben College added a dozen points.

Roach Recognized:  Kyle Roach is this week's Northwest Conference Student-Athlete of the Week in men's basketball.  He averaged 26.5 points per game while making 47% of his field goals and over 41% of his three-pointers in home victories over Lewis & Clark and Pacific.  He has averaged 24.8 points per game over his last five contests.  This is Roach's third time winning the NWC weekly honor after two recognitions in 2016-17.

The Opponents:  Whitman College began the season ranked #1 in the D3hoops.com top-25 and has remained firmly entrenched at the top by going 13-0 overall and 4-0 in the NWC to start the season.  The Blues return several key components from a team that reached the NCAA Division III final four in 2017, beginning with reigning Northwest Conference Player of the Year Tim Howell.  The senior guard is averaging 17.5 points per game and making 52% of his field goals.  Junior guard Joey Hewitt, an honorable mention All-NWC honoree a year ago, leads the team in scoring this season (18.3 ppg). Junior wing Austin Butler leads the league in field goal percentage (70.2) and fills up the stat sheet with averages of 7.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.7 steals per game.  Whitman leads the conference in scoring average (102.5 ppg), field goal percentage (47.7), assists per game (17.7) and steals per game (16.6).  The Blues earned three wins against Whitworth in 2016-17, sweeping the regular season match ups by double digits.  The NWC final went to overtime before Whitman pulled out an 86-83 victory in Walla Walla.

George Fox University heads into a Friday night game at Whitman 5-8 overall and 1-3 in the NWC.  The Bruins dropped a pair at home over the weekend, falling 108-96 against Puget Sound and 91-90 to Pacific Lutheran.  George Fox is a dangerous team, leading the NWC in three-point percentage (38.9) and ranking second in three-pointers per game (10.2).  Junior guard Mason Green-Richards averages 20.8 points per game (second highest in the NWC) and makes 44% of his three-pointers.  Senior guard Thomas Rico adds 16.2 points per contest and also makes 44% of his three-point tries.  Junior forward Dylan Hamlett provides an inside presence with averages of 10.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.  Whitworth swept George Fox in a pair of games last season, winning 83-53 in Newberg and 91-70 in Spokane.  The Pirates have won the last seven meetings between the teams.

National Ranking:  The D3hoops.com poll will update on Monday night.  Whitworth was 8th in last week's poll.  The Pirates have appeared in 142 regular season D3hoops.com polls and currently have been ranked in 41 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 303-55 (.846), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level.  Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 136 of its last 146 (.931).

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 154-15 (.911) 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 is averaging 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.9 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% of his shots from three-point range (2nd in the NWC), including a 9-13 effort against Gallaudet on November 17th.  College leads the team in scoring average (18.2 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 11.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  He is second in the Northwest Conference in rebounding and leads the league in double-doubles (5).  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?:  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 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 finish off the first half of its Northwest Conference schedule with road games at Willamette and Linfield on January 19th and 20th.    

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.