SPOKANE, Wash. - Nate Montgomery powered his way to 23 points and 14 rebounds to led Whitworth University to a 77-56 win over visiting Chapman University in the second round of the NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament on Saturday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The 4th-ranked Pirates improved to 26-2 and will face Eastern Mennonite in next Friday's sectional semifinals at a site that will be determined on Sunday morning. The 12th-ranked Panthers finished 24-3 after earning their first-ever NCAA DIII tournament win on Thursday.
Montgomery, the 2010 Northwest Conference Player of the Year, made 7 of 9 from the field and 9-11 from the free throw line. His 14 rebounds tied a season high.
The Pirates never trailed, but did not shake free from Chapman until late. Whitworth looked like it might run away early, taking a 21-5 lead behind the energy of the largest crowd in the history of the Fieldhouse (1,760). But the Panthers fought back to within 28-24 on an inside basket by Jared Kaiser with two minutes left in the first period. Whitworth eventually took a 32-26 lead into the locker rooms.
Other than the fast start, the first half was played at defensive-minded Chapman's pace. Whitworth was able to take the lead at the break thanks to holding onto the ball (two turnovers). The shooting percentages and rebounds were otherwise even.
David Riley's jumper in the paint gave the Pirates a 40-29 lead early in the second half, but Chapman made one more run. Justin Riley's jumper pulled the Panthers back within 45-39 with 10:54 to play, but that is as close as Chapman would get. Whitworth's Riley and Wade Gebbers immediately hit back to back three-pointers to extend the lead back to 12 points and the Bucs would steadily pull away over the final eight minutes.
Eric Beal added 22 points for Whitworth, while Riley finished with 14 points. The Pirates found their offensive efficiency in the second half, shooting 56% (10-18) in the period.
Kyle Wood led the visitors with 21 points and five assists. Justin Riley totaled 12 points and Kaiser led the team with eight rebounds. Chapman outrebounded Whitworth 37-32, but the Panthers only made 33% (10-30) of their second-half shots.
Whitworth extended its school-record winning streak to 25 in a row. The Pirates are making their second-ever trip to the Division III sweet 16.