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Jocular Whitworth Pounds Willamette

It was like being locked in a room and watching Comedy Central on TV for 40 minutes.

Yes, this one was a side-splitting laugher for the Whitworth College men’s basketball team, which rolled to a 94-58 win over Willamette Saturday night at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

The spectators were kept in suspense for the first 30 seconds when Whitworth’s Nate Williams missed his first basket. But moments later, Whitworth, ranked 11th in the NAIA Division II Top 25 poll, converted eight straight baskets and built an 18-6 lead just 3:42 into the game.

When Sean Weston drained a 3-pointer at the 14:25 mark, the Pirates widened the margin to 25-10. Weston’s trey was the fourth in the game and he was the fourth starter to score from outside. Even 6-foot-6 junior center Ben Heimerman got in on the long-range show, hitting his only 3-point shot and finishing with a team-high 17 points.

Only Jeff Mix, who was right behind Heimerman with 15 points, stayed away from the 3-point arch.

“You gain confidence from a game like this,” said Whitworth coach Warren Friedrichs, whose team improved to 11-1 and 3-0 in the Northwest Conference. “They (Willamette) had a horrible shooting first half. And we got the rebounds and hit our shots so it made it look worse than it really was.”

The Bearcats (3-6, 1-2), who lost to Whitman College in Walla Walla by 30 points Friday night, shot just 18.5 percent in the first half to Whitworth’s 67.9. They were outrebounded 20-12, with Heimerman leading the way with eight rebounds. He finished with eight but he, along with the other starters, watched a lot of the second half from the bench as the reserves took over.

And for good reason. During most of the first half, Willamette only got one shot off before Whitworth pulled in the rebound.

On the other end, the Pirates were scoring quickly and furiously and built a 41-point 68-27 lead with 5-1/2 minutes left in the first half.

“It was a fun night,” said Williams, who is bothered by a bad right knee but saw 20 minutes of playing time and finished with 10 points. “Last month, we weren’t hitting the 3s at all. Usually Willamette is a real tough team. They didn’t play as well as they could have.”

Mike Hayter led the Bearcats with 20 points.

The Pirates, leading by 30 or more throughout the second half, had a chance to look at the future - freshmen James Sullivan and Kevin McDaniel among others.

Whitworth 94, Willamette 58

Willamette (3-6, 1-2) - Hayter 7-16 4-4 20, Nelson 0-3 2-2 2, Smith 1-3 0-0 2, VandenBrink 0-2 0-0 0, Hanna 2-5 0-0 4, Rice 1-7 0-0 3, Moore 2-5 0-0 4, Heinle 1-6 3-4 5, Watts 0-1 4-4 5, Downey 4-6 0-0 8 8, Gregg 1-3 2-2 4, Schalk 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 20-59 15-16 58.

Whitworth (11-2 3-0) - Weston 2-3 2-2 8, Mix 5-8 5-6 15, Williams 4-8 0-0 10, Schulz 5-7 4-7 14, Ga.Jones 3-6 0-0 7, Nakanishi 0-0 0-0 0, Vargas 1-1 2-2 4, Heimerman 6-10 4-4 17, Sullivan 1-3 0-2 2, McDaniel 0-0 4-4 4, Jordan 2-5 2-2 6, Gr.Jones 2-6 2-4 7. Totals 31-59 25-33 94.

Halftime-Whitworth 59, Willamette 23. 3-point goals-Willamete 3-19 (Hayter 2-6, Nelson 0-2, Smith 0-1, VanderBrink 0-1, Hanna 0-1, Rice 1-2, Moore 0-2, Heinle 0-4. Whitworth 7-17 (Weston 2-2, Williams 2-3, Ga.Jones 1-3, Heimerman 1-1, Jordan 0-2, Gr.Jones 1-4. Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Willamette 31 (Gregg 7), Whitworth 38 (Heimerman 8). Assists-Willamette 14 (Gregg 4), Whitworth 17 (Weston 9). Total fouls-Linfield 26 Whitworth 11. Technicals-None. A-NA.

, DataTimes


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