Top-Ranked Whitworth Pulls Away Late in 89-80 Win at Lewis & Cla - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Top-Ranked Whitworth Pulls Away Late in 89-80 Win at Lewis & Clark

George Valle scored a game-high 28 points as Whitworth beat Lewis & Clark. George Valle scored a game-high 28 points as Whitworth beat Lewis & Clark.

by Whitworth Athletics

PORTLAND, Ore. – George Valle scored a game-high 28 points to lead visiting Whitworth to an 89-80 win over Lewis & Clark on Saturday night at Pamplin Sports Center.

The top-ranked Pirates improved to 19-0 overall and 10-0 in the Northwest Conference.  Whitworth is off to the second-best start to a season in school history.  The 2010-11 Pirates started their season 23-0, which also marked the last time Whitworth was ranked #1.

Valle made 11 of his 17 shots from the field, including 3-5 from three-point range.  He was also 3-3 from the free throw line and missed tying his career-high by only two points.  Meanwhile Kenny Love scored 15 of his 19 points after halftime to help Whitworth withstand a strong effort by the Pioneers (7-11 overall, 3-7 NWC).

The first half included three ties and nine lead changes.  L&C took its final lead of the half when Alex Jones drained a three to make the score 35-33.  But Kyle Roach answered with consecutive baskets for Whitworth and the Pirates held a slim 39-38 lead at halftime.

The second period played out in a similar fashion with five ties and ten lead changes.  Another Jones three-pointer gave the Pioneers their largest lead of the game at 70-66 with just under seven minutes to play.

But Love answered with a three for Whitworth and Drew Sears’ basket tied the game 74-74 with just over four minutes to go.  And that’s when the Pirates finally took over, outscoring L&C 15-6 down the stretch.  Love scored ten of those final 15 points, including back-to-back three pointers.  His two free throws with 30 seconds to play gave Whitworth its first double-digit lead of the game (86-76).

Sears had a second straight big game in the post for the Pirates.  He finished with 13 points, ten rebounds and six blocked shots, setting single-game career highs for boards and blocks.  Sears went 6-6 from the floor in this game to finish the weekend a perfect 13-13 from the field.

Whitworth established season-highs for field goal percentage (32-52, 61.5%) and three-point percentage (6-11, 54.5%).  The Pirates won despite the fact that Lewis & Clark took 19 more shots in the game, thanks in part to a 38-32 edge in rebounding.

Four Pioneers reached double figures in scoring, including 16 apiece from Jones, Cannen Roberson and Markel Leonard.  Jason Luhnow scored all 13 of his points in the second half.  L&C finished the game 30-71 (42%) from the field, including 8-18 (44.4%) from three-point range.

Whitworth will be right back on the road Tuesday night at 24th-ranked Whitman (16-3, 8-2) in a battle between the top two teams in the NWC.

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