TACOMA, Wash. – Senior guards Dustin McConnell and Colton McCargar combined for 36 points to lead visiting Whitworth to an 84-74 win over Puget Sound on Friday night.
The Pirates improved to 16-4 overall and 10-1 in the Northwest Conference with their sixth straight victory overall and their 11th consecutive win over the Loggers (11-9, 7-4 NWC).
McConnell had 19 while playing all 40 minutes and McCargar had 17 as Whitworth made 10-18 from three-point range against one of the NWC’s stingiest defenses. UPS came into the game holding opponents to 39.3% from the field overall and 28.9% from three-point range.
“Our guys responded well in a tough environment against a good team,” said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. “They kept their poise in the first half and the bench played a key role.”
AJ Maw scored ten early points to help the Loggers grab a 16-12 lead just over 12 minutes into the game. The Pirates went ahead 22-20 when McConnell took a steal the length of the floor for a layup. The teams traded leads five times over the next six minutes and UPS grabbed its final lead (36-35) on Maw’s basket with under two minutes left. Whitworth closed the first half on an 8-2 spurt, including a three-pointer by McCargar and a jumper by Gabe Carter just before the buzzer. The Loggers would never get closer than five points the rest of the way.
The Pirates opened the second half with baskets by George Valle and McCargar to take their largest lead to that point. The game then settled into a flow of Puget Sound pulling to within five points and Whitworth extending the advantage back to nine or ten. A Dan Cheledinas basket got the Loggers back within 67-62 with just over five minutes to play, but Robby Douglas answered with a three-pointer to stem the tide. Whitworth would eventually lead by as many as 14 points (77-63) with 2:32 to go.
Christian Jurlina added 15 points and Kenny Love scored 13 (all in the first half) to give Whitworth four players in double figures. Whitworth finished the game 28-57 (49.1%) from the field. Taylor Farnsworth grabbed 12 rebounds for the Bucs, only one off of his season-high.
“Kenny made some big shots for us in the first half and Christian was solid throughout,” Logie said. “And a lot of credit goes to Dustin, who played the entire game against strong pressure and took great care of the basketball.”
Rex Nelson led UPS with 19 points, while Erin Barber scored 18. Maw finished with 15 and Cheledinas came off of the bench for 11 points and seven rebounds. The Loggers made 50% of their shots in the game. But after making 3-6 from three-point range in the first half, UPS was only 2-10 from beyond the arc after halftime.
Whitworth maintains a one-game lead over Whitman in the NWC standings heading into Saturday night’s game at Pacific Lutheran. Puget Sound will host Whitman on Saturday night.