SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth rallied from nine points behind in the second half for a tough 76-73 win over visiting Pacific Lutheran in a Northwest Conference men’s basketball game on Friday night.
The Pirates improved to 9-3 overall and 3-0 in the NWC with their fourth straight win. The Lutes dropped to 4-8, 1-2.
Whitworth held the lead for much of the first 12 minutes, going up 16-12 on a pair of free throws by Austin Wood and then 24-21 on three straight free throws by Colton McCargar with just under eight minutes to play.
But PLU shot 57% in the opening half and took over the final eight minutes of the period. An 11-2 run gave the Lutes a 32-26 lead after a layup by Daniel Landram. Two Bryce Miller free throws extended the advantage to 36-28 with 2:54 to go. But Whitworth was able to close to 36-32 at the half following a pair of baskets by Kenny Love.
PLU scored the first five points of the second half, including a three-pointer by Arvid Isaksen that gave the Lutes their largest lead of the game at 41-32. Whitworth responded with a 13-2 run, including seven points from McCargar, to go ahead 45-43. The Lutes were not shaken and retook the lead 47-45 on Landram’s basket. PLU would keep that lead most of the rest of the way.
Landram’s put-back basket with just under three minutes to play gave PLU a 70-66 lead and one more defensive stop for the Lutes might have put the Pirates away. But Dustin McConnell hit a short jumper and Taylor Farnsworth put back George Valle’s miss on a fast break to tie the game with 2:03 to go.
Miller’s jumper in the paint gave PLU its final lead (72-70). McConnell was fouled and made two free throws. Then after a stop, Valle scored a put back with less than a minute to play for a 74-72 Pirate lead. Kai Hoyt made 1-2 free throws to pull the Lutes back within one with 27 seconds left. But Christian Jurlina was fouled on the rebound and made 1-2 of his own for another two point lead. Another defensive stand led to another Jurlina free throw with four seconds left for the final point of the game.
Whitworth was an even 50% from the field (25-50), 25% (4-16) from three-point range. The Pirates made 22-28 from the free throw line. McCargar finished with 21 points, while Valle had 14 points. Jurlina came off of the bench for 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Love scored ten.
PLU finished the game making 53% (32-6) from the field. The Lutes got to the free throw line nine times, where they only hit five of those shots. Miller led all players with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Landram added 20 points, while Isaksen had 15 points.
Whitworth earned its 17th consecutive win over PLU. The Pirates turn their attention to Puget Sound on Saturday night. The Lutes travel to take on Whitman.