SPOKANE – Freshman point guard Kenny Love scored 24 points in the first home game of his career to lead 12th-ranked Whitworth to an 86-74 win over visiting SUNY College at Old Westbury on Friday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Colton McCargar added 21 points for the Pirates, who improved to 2-0. Tyrik Tucker tied for game-high honors and led the Panthers (2-2) with 24 points.
Trailing 6-5 in the early minutes, Whitworth went on a 13-0 run to grab an 18-6 lead halfway through the first half. Both Love and McCargar made three-pointers during that run. Old Westbury didn’t break into double digits until Omari Trebuse hit a long three to pull the Panthers within 22-10 with under eight minutes to play in the first half. Whitworth would eventually take a 45-34 lead into halftime after leading by as many as 15 points in the opening period.
“I was really proud of the way we started on the defensive end of the floor, holding Old Westbury to seven points through the first 12 minutes of the game,” said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. “That really gave us confidence and helped us build the lead.”
Whitworth grabbed its largest lead of the game at 65-46 midway through the second half on a layup by Adam Wilks. But the Panthers responded with a 14-1 run to pull within 66-60 on a three by Anton Morris with 7:40 to play. But that is as close as Old Westbury would get. Whitworth led 74-66 with just over four minutes to play, but went 12-12 from the free throw line over the final stretch to extend the lead back to double digits.
“I was pleased with tonight's effort in that we were able to get a victory versus as talented of a team as Old Westbury,” Logie said. “But certainly there are many teachable moments from a game like this that will make us better moving forward.”
Love made 6-9 from the field, including 4-6 from three-point range, and 8-10 from the free throw line for his 24 points. McCargar was 5-11 from the field and 9-10 from the charity stripe. Dustin McConnell added 15 points, while Wilks scored 11 points off of the bench and led the Bucs with eight rebounds.
The Pirates shot 52.3% from the floor, including 44.4% from beyond the arc. Whitworth made 32-41 free throws in a game that featured 60 total foul calls. The Panthers forced the Pirates into 21 turnovers.
Tucker, who came into the game averaging nine free throw attempts per contest for far this season, was 11-12 from the free throw line. He was 6-15 from the field for his 24 points. He added a game-high nine rebounds. Al Alexander, who battled foul trouble throughout the game, was the only other Panther in double figures with 14 points. Old Wesbury shot 44.9% from the field and 44.4% from three-point range. The Panthers made 22-31 free throws.
The Quality Inn Classic continues on Saturday with Old Westbury taking on Puget Sound at 6:00 pm and Whitworth playing Colorado College at 8:00 pm.