Top-Ranked Pirates Pull Away From Pesky Wildcats to Remain Unbea - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Top-Ranked Pirates Pull Away From Pesky Wildcats to Remain Unbeaten

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Whitworth had to work hard to pull away late in the contest and improve to 18-0 overall and 9-0 in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth had to work hard to pull away late in the contest and improve to 18-0 overall and 9-0 in the Northwest Conference.

by Whitworth Athletics

McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Top-ranked Whitworth outscored Linfield 37-25 in the second half to hand the pesky Wildcats a 67-55 setback on Friday night at Ted Wilson Gym.

Whitworth had to work hard to pull away late in the contest and improve to 18-0 overall and 9-0 in the Northwest Conference.  Linfield pulled even with the Bucs 30-30 at halftime, but could not keep up down the stretch and dropped to 9-9, 3-6.

George Valle had a huge game for Whitworth, leading the Pirates in scoring (20 points), rebounds (12) and assists (4).

The Pirates appeared ready to make it a runaway early.  Valle and Kenny Love each hit threes as Whitworth jumped ahead 8-0.  When Matt Staudacher hit the third Pirate three-pointer of the opening five minutes, Whitworth had taken a 13-2 lead.

But Linfield began to chip away.  Vince Romeo’s three-pointer pulled the ‘Cats to within 20-16 and Jordan Clark’s three pulled Linfield to within 25-24.  Kyle Maloof’s free throws then gave the Wildcats their only lead of the game, 28-27, with 2:42 to play in the first half.  Valle answered with his third three-pointer of the first half for Whitworth and the teams went to the locker rooms tied 30-30.

Similar to the first half, the Pirates opened the second period with the first two baskets.  This time Whitworth would never give up the lead.  Valle drained another three and Love converted two free throws to extend the advantage to 43-35.  Linfield got back to within 53-49 with just over nine minutes to play in the game, but that’s as close as the Wildcats would get.

Drew Sears rose for a dunk and scored another short basket to spark a 6-0 run that gave Whitworth its first double-digit lead (59-49).  The Pirates eventually stretched their lead to 67-53 lead with 20 seconds to play.

Sears tied his career-high with 16 points for Whitworth and Love also scored 16.  The Pirates made 42% (22-52) of their shots from the field, including 41% (7-17) from three-point range.  Whitworth made 48% from the field after halftime, improving its offensive efficiency.

Whitworth’s defense made things hard for Linfield all night.  The Wildcats finished 19-58 (33%) from the floor, including 6-27 (22%) from beyond the arc.  Clark scored a dozen points off of the bench to lead Linfield in scoring.  He was the only one to reach double figures.

Whitworth will put its winning streak back on the line on Saturday at Lewis & Clark.
 

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