SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University men's basketball team heads into the second round of Northwest Conference games by hosting Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound this weekend. PLU will visit on Friday night (8:00 pm), while Puget Sound comes in on Saturday at 6:00 pm (which is Alumni Night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse). 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.
Alumni Night: Saturday night is Alumni Night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. All Whitworth Alumni can get free admission, with their family, for the doubleheader. The women's game starts at 4:00 pm, while the men's game is scheduled for 6:00 pm. Enter a raffle for fun prizes that will be given away throughout the night. Complementary refreshments will be available behind the bleachers during halftime of the men's game. If you are a Whitworth alum, and plan to attend, register here.
The Pirates: Whitworth, ranked 4th in the most recent D3hoops.com poll, improved to 15-2 overall and 7-1 in the NWC following an Oregon road sweep last weekend.
The Bucs were down by nine points (12-3) in the opening minutes on Friday night at Willamette before rallying to take a 12-point lead early in the second half. The host Bearcats fought back to claim a 65-64 lead in the final minutes, but Whitworth responded to pull out a 67-65 victory by playing tight defense in the final 1:20 of the game. Kyle Roach scored 22 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Jared Christy added 12 points and a team-high eight boards. Ben College had 11 points and Sam Lees came off the bench for 10 important points. Whitworth won its 16th in a row over the Bearcats despite shooting a season-low 36.1% from the field and only 30% from three-point range. The Pirates forced 16 Willamette turnovers while committing only nine.
Trailing 40-38 with 11 minutes to play at Linfield, Whitworth used a 13-0 run to grab a 63-55 victory on Saturday night. The Pirates' shooting improved to 49% from the floor and 40% from beyond the arc, but they had to overcome a poor night at the free throw line (13-23, 56.5%). Kyle Roach scored 18 of his 21 points after halftime to lead the team. Jared Christy added his eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Ben College finished with ten points. Whitworth held the Wildcats to only 30% shooting from the field, 29% from three-point range, and to their lowest scoring output of the season. The Pirates claimed their 20th straight win over Linfield.
The Opponents: Pacific Lutheran University comes into Friday night's game 4-12 overall and 1-7 in the NWC. The Lutes lost twice last week, falling 98-78 at Puget Sound on Tuesday night and 71-54 at home to Pacific on Saturday night. PLU is looking to end its current four-game losing streak and a 26-game skid to the Pirates. The Lutes continue to lead the league in fewest fouls committed per game (16.8). Sophomore forward Leighton Kingma averages 11.8 points while making 42% of his three-pointers. He adds 5.4 rebounds per game. Senior guard Dylan Foreman contributes 9.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Whitworth won 88-70 at Pacific Lutheran on December 2nd in the teams' first meeting this season. Ben College scored 21 points in the second half and finished with 29 in the game. Jared Christy added 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The University of Puget Sound is 12-4 overall and 5-3 in the NWC heading into Friday night's game at Whitman. The Loggers are currently tied with Linfield for third place in the NWC standings. Following last Tuesday's home win over PLU, Puget Sound defeated Lewis & Clark 95-87 on Friday night. The Loggers come into the weekend averaging 98.7 points per contest and they lead the NWC in three-pointers made per game (13.1). Puget Sound also averages 14.2 steals per contest. Junior guard Jimmy Wohrer leads the conference in scoring average (21.8 ppg) and in three-pointers made per game (4.1). Sophomore wing Stellen Roberts adds 10.1 points and is the only other regular in double figures as the Loggers go 13 players deep. Freshman post Zion Shepherd contributes 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest. Whitworth won the teams' first match up this season 94-85 in Tacoma on December 1st as Ben College scored 22 points and Ben Bishop added a career-high 17 points. The Pirates have won their last 20 games against Puget Sound.
National Ranking: Whitworth moved back up from 7th to 4th in this week's D3hoops.com top-25 poll. The Pirates have appeared in 144 regular season D3hoops.com polls and currently have been ranked in 43 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 306-56 (.845), an amazing run of success matched by few other college teams at any level. Within the Northwest Conference, Whitworth has won 139 of its last 150 (.927).
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 155-15 (.912) 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 75-15 (.833) away from home, 57-12 (.826) 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 17.9 points (4th in the NWC), 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists this season. He scored a career-high 32 points in the Pirates' win over George Fox on January 13th.
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 nearly 42% 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 (16.7 ppg) so far this season, which also ranks sixth 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 11.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He leads the Northwest Conference in rebounding and in double-doubles (8). 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.
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 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 head back down to Oregon on February 2nd and 3rd for games at Pacific (Ore.) and Lewis & Clark.
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.