SPOKANE – Sixteenth-ranked Whitworth rolled to an easy 91-59 win over visiting Linfield in a Northwest Conference men’s basketball game on Friday night.
With the victory the Pirates move a step closer to an unprecedented fifth-straight Northwest Conference regular season championship. Whitworth improved to 18-4 overall and 12-1 in the NWC. The Pirates now hold a two-game lead over Whitman (10-3 NWC) after the Missionaries were upset at home by George Fox on Friday night. The Pirates will host the upstart Bruins on Saturday in the Fieldhouse, then host the second-place Missionaries on Tuesday.
Whitworth was in control from the beginning. The game was tied once, 5-5, after a three-point play by Linfield’s Mason Rodby. Then the Bucs scored the next seven points, capped by a three from Christian Jurlina, and the rout was on. The Pirates extended the first half lead to 20-8 on another Jurlina trey, then 38-19 on Kenny Love’s three-point play. Whitworth eventually led 47-24 at halftime.
The Pirates did not let Linfield even think about a comeback in the second half after Robby Douglas opened the period with a three-pointer. Whitworth eventually led by as many as 40 points (80-40) on a three-point play by Grant McNiel.
“I was really proud of how focused we came out tonight,” said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. “We created opportunities with our defense and shared the ball extremely well, which led to a balanced scoring attack.”
The Pirates shot 56% (32-57) from the field, 38% (9-24) from three-point range. The only area where Whitworth struggled all night was at the free throw line where the Bucs, who lead the NWC in team free throw percentage, made only 60% (18-30).
All 16 players on the roster saw action in the game and 15 of those players scored. Five Pirates were in double figures, as George Valle, Dustin McConnell and Kenny Love all had 11. Robby Douglas and Christian Jurlina scored ten apiece. Jurlina also had eight rebounds as the Bucs finished with a 38-29 edge on the boards.
“It was great to get a lot of guys into the game and gain some valuable experience as we head into the final week of the season,” Logie said.
Linfield (3-18 overall, 1-11 NWC) made 41% of its shots from the floor, 29% from three-point range. Vinnie Toor was the only Wildcat player in double figures as he came off of the bench for 10 points.
Whitworth has now beaten Linfield in 12 straight meetings.