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Whitworth's Riley named Player of the Year; coach Hayford also honored

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David Riley (Photo: Whitworth Athletics) David Riley (Photo: Whitworth Athletics)

Three more Bucs also recognized by Northwest Conference

by Whitworth Athletics

SPOKANE, Wash. - The 2010 Whitworth University men's basketball team posted only the second 16-0 record in Northwest Conference history and the Pirate players were well-rewarded by conference coaches, along with Whitworth head coach Jim Hayford.

Hayford was named the 2010 NWC Coach of the Year, Nate Montgomery is the 2010 NWC Player of the Year, Eric Beal and David Riley were selected to the All-NWC First Team and Bo Gregg picked up honorable mention consideration.

The 2010 All-NWC Team was released today. Click here for the entire team.

Hayford was named NWC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career. He has led the Pirates to their third NWC title in the last four years and the fourth conference title of his nine-year tenure. Whitworth is on the brink of making its fifth NCAA Division III tournament appearance.

Montgomery (Sr., P, Sammamish, Wash. / Eastlake) has become one of the most dominating big men in division III this season. He is averaging 16.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, leading the Pirates in both categories. He leads the Northwest Conference (and ranks 30th in NCAA DIII) in field goal percentage (60.2%). In NWC-only statistics, he is averaging 18.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game and has eight double-doubles in 16 games. He was named NWC Student-Athlete of the Week on January 12th after averaging 26 points and 12 rebounds in wins over Pacific (Ore.) and George Fox.

Montgomery, who earlier this month was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, becomes the fifth Pirate player in the last eight seasons to be named the NWC Men's Player of the Year.

Eric Beal (Sr., G, Spokane, Wash. - Concordia Univ. [Calif.]) has stepped in to lead the team as the starting point guard this season. The former Greater Spokane League Player of the Year (North Central HS) and standout for the Community Colleges of Spokane is second on the team in scoring average (14.4) and second in the NWC (14th nationally) in assists per game (5.80). He is also second in the NWC (39th nationally) in assists-to-turnover ratio (2.13 - 1). He has also been the Pirates' most consistent free throw shooter this season, making 82% of his attempts.

David Riley (Jr., F, Palo Alto, Calif. - Gunn) is currently averaging 13.9 points per game. He has an incredibly high shooting percentage (.490) based on the fact that more than half of his shots are from three-point range. Riley currently ranks first in the NWC in three-point percentage (.430) and second in the NWC in three-pointers per game (2.44). No other player in the conference comes close to combining great accuracy and high volume in three-point shooting. He now has 1,129 career points, recently becoming the 20th player in Whitworth history to reach the 1,000 point plateau.

Bo Gregg (Sr., F, Lewiston, Idaho - CC of Spokane) started eight games this season, but has spent most of the year playing the role of sixth-man. The former IEL Player of the Year (Lewiston HS) is averaging 10.4 points and 5.0 rebounds (second on the team) and has made 40% of his three-point attempts. There is arguably no better spark off of the bench in the Northwest Conference this season.

Whitworth is now 23-2 overall ranked 5th in the most recent D3hoops.com top-25 poll. The Pirates host Lewis & Clark College tonight in a Northwest Conference semifinal game.

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