After Slow Start, Whitworth Clamps Down on Linfield 63-49 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

After Slow Start, Whitworth Clamps Down on Linfield 63-49


by Whitworth Athletics

SPOKANE, Wash. – Second-ranked Whitworth clamped down defensively after halftime and outscored visiting Linfield 37-22 in the second period on the way to a 63-49 victory over the Wildcats in a Northwest Conference men’s basketball game on Saturday night at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

The Pirates improved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the NWC while Linfield dropped to 4-3, 0-2.

The Wildcats were not cowed by Whitworth’s high ranking, leading for much of the first half.  Kyle Maloof’s layup gave the visitors an 11-7 lead and Mason Rodby followed with a three-point play that stretched the advantage to 14-7.  The Pirates answered with a 10-2 run to take a 17-16 lead on a three-pointer by Matt Staudacher.  Whitworth still led 23-20 with just over three minutes left before Linfield closed with a 7-3 run to take a 27-26 lead into the locker rooms.  Vince Romero sank a pair of free throws with a second left on the clock.

Linfield made 42% (11-26) in the first half while holding Whitworth to only 33% (9-27) from the floor.

The teams traded leads three times in the opening minutes of the second half before Derek Isaak’s three-pointer gave Whitworth a 35-32 advantage.  The Pirates would not trail again.  Leading 38-36, Whitworth went on a 12-4 run to go ahead 50-40 on another Staudacher three-ball .  Whitworth would eventually stretch the lead to 62-44 on a pair of Valle free throws with just under two minutes to play.

Linfield shot only 20% (6-30) after halftime while the Pirates improved to 55% (12-22).

“We really closed them off at the three-point line in the second half,” said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie.  “Our ball-screen defense was pretty strong and we were able to challenge a lot of their shots.”

Stuadacher led the Pirates in scoring for the second time in three games with 19 points, hitting 5-7 from three-point range.

“Matt understands what our team has needed with Kenny (Love) being out,” Logie said.

Christian Jurlina added 15 points and seven rebounds, while Valle finished with 14 points and six boards for Whitworth, which continues to play without 2015 NWC Player of the Year Love, who remains day-to-day with an eye injury.

Maloof led Linfield with 15 points, while Rodby scored 14 points and grabbed six boards.

Whitworth will return to action next Saturday with a neutral site game against Colorado College at George Fox University.

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