Posted on February 24, 2013 at 1:25 AM
The 8th-ranked Pirates (24-3) will make their seventh straight trip to the NCAA Division III tournament while the Missionaries (19-8) must hope for an at-large bid. The field will be announced on Monday morning at 9:30 am (PST).
Seniors Mack Larkin and Wade Gebbers led Whitworth with 22 and 16 points, respectively. The pair are making their fourth straight trip to the NCAA tournament.
“You’ve got to start with our seniors,” said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. “They have set the tone all year and have the championship experience that was so important tonight. They allowed us to execute our game plan about as well as we possibly could tonight.”
Ben Eisenhardt’s layup gave Whitman an 8-7 lead three minutes into the game. It would be the last lead of the game for the Missionaries. Leading 12-10, Whitworth fired off an16-2 run to open up a 28-12 lead halfway through the first half. Gebbers drilled three long three-pointers during the run. His fourth three of the half increased Whitworth’s lead to 37-20 with six minutes to go. After the Missionaries cut the deficit to 41-28 on a pair of Josh Duckworth free throws, the Pirates closed the half on a 12-4 run. Larkin had seven of those points and Whitworth took a 53-32 lead into the locker rooms.
The Pirates shot 64% (21-33) in the first half, 69% (9-13) from beyond the arc. Whitworth struggled, hitting only 28% (8-29) and the Missionaries went 0-9 from three point range. Whitworth only had four first-half turnovers against Whitman’s full-court press.
The Pirates steadily pulled away for most of the second half, going up 67-40 on Colton McCargar’s lay in with just under 14 minutes to play. A layup by Taylor Farnsworth gave Whitworth its firs 30-point lead of the night (79-48) with just less than 10 minutes to play. The Pirates took their largest lead of the game at 85-53 when Robby Douglas converted a three-point play with seven minutes to go.
The Pirates cooled off a little in the second half, but still finished 57% (38-67) from the field. They missed their six three-point tries in the second half. Whitman hit 50% of its shots in the second half and finished 38% (21-55) for the game. The Missionaries finished 1-15 (6.7%) from three-point range.
Larkin made 10-13 from the field, 2-5 from the three-point line, for his career-high 22 points. His previous career high was 17. Gebbers was 4-6 from long range and also dished five assists to go along with his 16 points.
McCargar had 15 points and seven boards off of the bench and Farnsworth 11 points and seven rebounds. Dustin McConnell had 9 points and a career-high nine assists. The Whitworth offense had 27 assists on its 38 baskets.
Eisenhardt and Duckworth each finished with 21 points to lead the Missionaries. No other Whitman player had more than six points. Matt Mounier led his team with seven rebounds.
“I am excited to see where the next step in this journey leads us,” Logie said.