SPOKANE – A balanced scoring effort led Whitworth to a 78-59 win over visiting Puget Sound in a key Northwest Conference men’s basketball game on Friday night a the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The 10th-ranked Pirates improved to 17-3 overall and 10-1 in the NWC, while the Loggers fell to 15-5, 7-4 and into a tie for third place in the conference standings.
Felix Friedt led five Whitworth players in double figures as the Pirates made 55% (31-56) of their shots from the field in the game.
Puget Sound never led as Whitworth jumped out to a 12-4 lead over the first five minutes by making five of its first seven shots, including three-pointers by Dustin McConnell and Wade Gebbers. The Loggers got back within 12-11 following a layup by Riggs Yarbro, but Friedt answered with a three point play and UPS never got that close again. Jack Loofburrow’s jumper gave Whitworth its first double-digit lead (33-23) and his three-pointer right before halftime extended the Pirates’ advantage to 44-30 at the break.
Anthony Gittens scored to get Puget Sound within 48-36 early in the second half, but that is as close as the Loggers would come after halftime. Idris Lasisi drove for a basket to give Whitworth its first 20-point lead (60-40) with 14:19 to go. Rex Holmes hit a three to get UPS back to within 64-49 with just over ten minutes left, but Gebbers answered with a three of his own and by the time Lasisi drove for another layup with six minutes left Whitworth had opened its largest margin (72-50) of the game.
Friedt led the Pirates with 16 points and five boards, while Gebbers scored 14 and McConnell added 13 points. Loofburrow came off of the bench for 11 points in his best performance since returning from a stress fracture in his foot last week. Lasisi finished with ten points, five rebounds and three assists.
Kaleb Shelton led Puget Sound with 14 points, while Gittens finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Julian Fernandez dished a game-high four assists.
Whitworth will face Pacific Lutheran (7-4 NWC) on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m., while the Loggers travel to Walla Walla to face Whitman (8-3 NWC) with a chance to move back into a tie for second place in the league standings.