Pirates win with 3-point barrage
Given the option, Whitworth University coach Jim Hayford might want to consider postponing the Pirates’ upcoming game against unbeaten and third-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater and send his players home for another extended holiday break.
Because the Bucs showed few ill effects of their recent nine-day layoff – on the offensive end of the court, at least – on Sunday afternoon as they beat down visiting Wisconsin-Stout 104-84 in a non-conference matchup that should amp up the confidence level heading into Tuesday’s 7 p.m. home showdown against Whitewater.
Junior forward David Riley broke out of a season-long shooting slump by throwing in a game-high 26 points, and senior teammate Eric Beal added 21, as the Pirates (6-2) posted their fifth consecutive win in front of a Whitworth Fieldhouse crowd of 635 that witnessed a long-range shooting clinic.
Riley, who came in averaging just under 10 points per game, burned the Blue Devils (4-6) by draining 6 of 12 shots from 3-point range, and the Pirates finished a collective 15 for 33 from beyond the arc.
Stout also shot the ball well from the perimeter, knocking down 12 of its 24 3-point attempts.
“It was a great shooting performance, really, by both teams,” Hayford said. “But I think the 188 points had more to do with tired legs that didn’t want to defend. Apparently, everybody went home on break, did a lot of shooting and honed their individual skills, but didn’t do much to improve their stamina.”
Whitworth slipped into an offensive rhythm it had not been able to find this season. In opening up a 53-45 halftime lead that featured 16 points from Beal, the Pirates shot 57.1 percent from 3-point range and turned the ball over only five times against the Blue Devils’ full-court trapping defense.
And once Riley took over in the second half by scoring 16 of his points, there was no way the Pirates were going to let this one get away.
“We knew it was coming,” Hayford said of the breakout scoring effort by Riley, who averaged a team-high 16.4 points as a sophomore last winter. “We were just waiting for that dam to break, and it finally did. And while he’s worked his way through this slump, he’s never taken a shot I didn’t think was going in.
“So, this should be great for his confidence.”
Hayford also had praise for Beal, who helped the Pirates survive a series of first-half defensive letdowns by making four of the five 3-pointers he tried while also contributing three steals and a pair of assists.
“I thought Eric was huge in the first half,” Hayford said.
“We weren’t making stops, but he kept us in the game long enough for our defense to lock down in the first five minutes of the second half and give us the cushion that allowed us to kind of cruise home.”
Wisconsin-Stout (4-7)—Thomas 1-4 2-2 4, Hostetter 4-12 1-1 11, Olson 3-3 0-0 8, Buchholtz 4-7 1-2 13, Enerson-Matthews 4-9 2-2 11, Staidle 2-3 0-0 4, Jardine 0-0 0-0 0, Bungue 0-2 0-0 0, Collins 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 1-5 0-0 2, Fant 6-11 0-1 8, Butina 2-3 1-3 5, Totals 31-65 10-16 84.
Whitworth (6-2)—Riley 10-18 0-0 26, Montgomery 2-11 9-10 13, Friedt 4-6 6-7 14, Beal 5-9 6-6 21, Gebbers 3-6 0-0 8, Call 2-4 2-2 6, Gregg 3-4 0-0 8, Taylor 1-2 0-0 2, Odland 0-1 0-0 0, Larkin 0-0 0-0 0, Loofburrow 3-5 0-0 6, Totals 33-66 -23-25 104.
Halftime—Whitworth 53-45. 3-Point Goals—WS 12-24 (Hostetter 2-6, Olson 2-2, Buchholtz 4-7, Enerson-Matthews 1-3, Staidle 0-1, Nelson 0-1, Fant 3-4), Whitworth 15-33 (Riley 6-12, Montgomery 0-1, Beal 5-9, Gebbers 2-5, Call 0-1, Gregg 2-3, Loofburrow 0-2). Fouled Out—Thomas, Franzen. Rebounds—WS 37 (Fant, Franzen 5), Whitworth 36 (Montgomery 7). Assists—WS 20 (Enerson0-Matthews 5), Whitworth 19 (Beal 5). Total Fouls—WS 19, Whitworth 16. A—635.
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