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Whitworth Rolls Pirates Win 36th Straight At Home

The Whitworth College men’s basketball team had it all going Saturday night, from its stylish streaky shooters to its uptempo play.

The 12-man show resulted in a convincing 89-72 win over Linfield College before 1,200 spectators in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. The victory was Whitworth’s 36th straight at home and 26th straight home win against Northwest Conference opponents.

With a weekend sweep, the Pirates improved their record improved to 7-3, 3-1. Linfield slipped to 3-8, 1-4 after suffering two weekend losses.

Saturday, Whitworth jumped out to a 19-17 lead at 10:43 and built from there. Greg Jones got Whitworth, going scoring 10 of his game-total 12 points during the opening minutes. The 6-foot-7 junior’s only glitch was a failed dunk attempt coming off his own steal. The shot rimmed out when Jones turned his head to check the defender.

Seconds later, 6-0 guard Julian Nakanishi had his chance to bring down the house with a slam but opted for a safe layin.

From there, Jones cooled off, but Sean Weston took over. The speedy 5-8 senior - the first guard off the bench this season after starting last year- drained a 3-pointer with 3:15 left in the half. He followed with an athletic layup by cutting into the lane past Linfield’s two 6-7 players. The Pirates’ scoring spurts gave them a 46-31 halftime lead on 61 percent shooting (16 of 26).

They didn’t let up. Coach Warren Friedrichs shuttled in fresh players who were just as effective as the starters. Whitworth’s bench outscored Linfield 40-26.

Senior center Ben Heimerman, who came off the bench in the first half, started the second and finished with a team-high 17 points. He, too, went in for a slam and made it, giving Whitworth a 57-40 lead with 14:53 left. He finished with seven rebounds. Teammate Jeff Mix had 10 and scored 15 points.

“One of our themes is trusting the bench,” Friedrichs said. “If you play hard and give us the fist when you’re tired - and we got some fists tonight - that’s our signal you come out. We’ll get you back in, but trust the guys who play behind you.”

The Pirates’ biggest lead was 88-63 after Ryan Nelson sank his third 3-pointer with 3 minutes remaining.

Nelson and Nakanishi provided Whitworth with the team’s final streak, scoring four of the team’s six 3-pointers in the final 5 minutes.

Linfield scored the final four baskets and won the battle in the paint, outscoring the Pirates 36-18. Grant Ebright led Linfield with 17 points. Whitworth had a 36-34 rebound edge and shot 54 percent to Linfield’s 44 percent.

“They stuck with us for a while, but in the second half, we did what we do best,” Weston said. “And that’s run the ball, play solid defense and play a lot of players.”

Whitworth 89, Linfield 72

Linfield (3-8, 1-4) - Ebright 6-11 2-2 17, Wilson 1-3 1-2 3, Olson 3-10 0-0 7, Berkey 5-10 0-0 10, Meyerding 1-3 0-0 2, Boyce 2-6 0-0 4, Emerson 0-0 0-0 0, Gunderson 1-1 0-0 2, Kaiser 2-4 1-2 5, Bohlander 0-0 2-2 2, Iceman 3-6 0-2 6, Turner 6-15 2-3 14. Totals 30-68 8-13 72.

Whitworth (7-3, 3-1) - Ramey 0-2 0-0 0, Mix 6-9 3-5 15, Weston 3-6 3-4 10, Nakanishi 4-6 0-0 10, Nelson 3-8 0-0 9, Heimerman 4-4 9-10 17, Sullivan 0-1 0-0 0, McDaniel 1-2 1-2 3, Jordan 3-6 1-3 7, Jones 5-11 2-2 12, Ruebel 3-4 0-0 6. Totals 32-59 19-26 89.

Halftime - Whitworth 46, Linfield 31. 3-point goals - Linfield 4-13 (Ebright 3-4, Olson 1-4, Berkey 0-1, Boyce 0-1, Turner 0-3), Whitworth 6-16 (Nelson 3-7, Nakanishi 2-3, Weston 1-2, Ramey 0-1, Ruebel 0-1, Jordan 0-2). Fouled out - None. Rebounds - Linfield 34 (Berkey, Iceman, Turner 6), Whitworth 36 (Mix 10). Assists - Linfield 10 (Olson 4), Whitworth 17 (Jordan 4). Total fouls - Linfield 18, Whitworth 14. Technicals - Linfield bench. A - NA.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


 

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