Whitworth Stays Perfect, Tops UMHB 68-58 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Whitworth Stays Perfect, Tops UMHB 68-58

George Valle's 14 points and 11 rebounds helped lead Whitworth to its 11th win of the season. George Valle's 14 points and 11 rebounds helped lead Whitworth to its 11th win of the season.

WhitworthPirates.com

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Second-ranked Whitworth rallied from six points behind with ten minutes to play to defeat Mary Hardin-Baylor 68-58 on the final day of the D3hoops.com Classic at the South Point Arena.

The Pirates outscored the Crusaders 26-10 over the final ten minutes of the game to improve to 11-0.  UMHB dropped to 3-6.

Whitworth looked like it might take control of the game in the first half.  AJ Grant broke a 10-10 tie with a three-pointer and the Bucs extended the advantage to 17-10 after consecutive baskets by Christian Jurlina.  Whitworth took its largest lead of the first period at 24-16 after a pair of George Valle free throws with three minutes to go.  But the Crusaders pulled to within 28-24 at halftime, thanks mostly to Russell Green's 11 points.

Neither team shot well in the first half.  Whitworth went 10-31 (32.3%) from the floor, including 3-17 (17.6%) from three-point range.  UMHB was 8-29 (27.6%) overall and only 1-6 (16.7%) from beyond the arc.

The Pirates went up 40-34 early in the second half on a Jurlina three-point play.  But the Crusaders went on a 14-2 run to go ahead 48-42.  Green had half of those points.

Matt Staudacher's three-pointer with just under nine minutes to play stemmed the tide.  Valle's layup with 7:41 to play gave the Bucs the lead for good (51-50) and Love added to that with a three-pointer.  After UMHB got back within 59-56 with 2:46 to go, Love hit another three on the next Whitworth possession and the Pirates were able to pull away by making 6-8 free throws down the stretch.

The shooting got only slightly better in the second half for both teams.  Whitworth finished the game 23-60 (38.3%) from the field, 8-30 (26.7%) from three-point range.   UMHB was 19-59 (32.2%) from the floor and 5-14 (35.7%) from long range.

Whitworth got a balanced scoring effort.  Jurlina and Love each scored 15 points, while Valle finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. 

UMHB's Green finished with a game-high 22 points and added eight rebounds.

Whitworth will return home to open Northwest Conference action on Tuesday night against Whitman College in what could be a key early league contest.  That game will be televised live by SWX. 

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