Whitman Hands Top Ranked Whitworth Their First Loss Of The Seaso - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Whitman Hands Top Ranked Whitworth Their First Loss Of The Season

Whitworth tried to pull closer in the 2nd half, but 21st Ranked Whitman handed them their first loss of the season Whitworth tried to pull closer in the 2nd half, but 21st Ranked Whitman handed them their first loss of the season

By Whitworth Athletics

20th-ranked Whitman College used a 13-0 run over the first four minutes of the second half to build an insurmountable lead that top-ranked Whitworth could not overcome as the Missionaries defeated the Pirates 87-71 on Tuesday night at Sherwood Center.

Whitman improved to 17-3 overall and 9-2 in the Northwest Conference, moving within one game of Whitworth in the NWC standings.  The second-best start to a season came to an end for the Pirates (19-1 overall, 10-1 NWC).

The Missionaries never trailed in the game, jumping out to a quick 9-0 lead as Whitworth committed three early turnovers.  Whitman extended its lead to 14-3 on a three-pointer by Jack Stewart before the Pirates finally got going.  The Missionaries opened their largest lead of the first half when Phillip Chircu hit a three to extend the advantage to 37-24.  But Whitworth used a 10-0 run, capped by Kenny Love's three-pointer, to cut the margin to 37-34.  Whitman took a 39-34 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.

Whitworth looked helpless against Whitman's defense in the opening four minutes of the second half, allowing the Missionaries to use the 13-0 run to open a 52-34 lead.  Kyle Roach's dunk sparked a brief Pirate comeback that saw the lead whittled to 56-46 with 12 minutes to play. Whitman answered with two straight baskets and eventually extended the lead back out to 17 points on three occasions.  The Pirates pulled back within ten points (79-69) one more time, but there was just over a minute left in the game at that point.

Whitworth suffered through its worst shooting night of the season, making only 36.5% (23-63) of its shots.  Roach scored a career-high 18 points off of the bench to lead the Bucs.  George Valle added 16 points and Matt Staudacher finished with 12 points.  Christian Jurlina led Whitworth with nine rebounds to go along with his 10 points.

With his 16 points, Valle moved up to tenth on Whitworth's all-time scoring list with 1,305 points in his career.

Whitman made 40.9% (27-66) of its shots from the floor.  But the Missionaries took advantage of 31 trips to the free throw line, where they made 28 shots (90.3%).  Tim Howell scored a game-high 28 points, while Chircu came off of the bench for 13 points.  Evan Martin grabbed 11 rebounds.

The Pirates will look to bounce back when they host Pacific (Ore.) on Saturday night at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

Connell also led Whitworth with a game-high ten rebounds and the Bucs finished with a 48-41 edge on the boards.

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