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Dominant Pirates improve to 16-0

Let Whitman Missionaries basketball coach Eric Bridgeland describe Whitworth’s dominating 104-71 win over his team Tuesday night.

“It was an absolute clinic,” he said after the No. 3-ranked Pirates battered his team.

“They played harder than us, they played better defense than us and they shot the ball better than us,” Bridgeland said.

Whitworth stayed perfect on the season, moving its record to 16-0 overall and 7-0 in the Northwest Conference.

Pirates guard Mike Taylor scored a game-high 30 points with an offensive statistical line that was nearly perfect: He made 9 of 10 shots from the floor, was 2 for 2 from 3-point range and 10 for 10 from the free-throw line.

The only thing more offensive than Taylor’s performance was the hideous bruise he incurred high above his left outside ankle.

Taylor cited Whitworth’s offensive team strategy that calls for active ball and player movement to create good shots at the basket.

“Coach always preaches ball movement to get team Whitworth shots,” Taylor said after the game.

Team Whitworth shot nearly 62 percent from the floor and close to 60 percent from 3-point range for the night. Just as impressive, the Pirates only committed nine turnovers against an aggressive Missionaries team that attempted to apply full-court pressure for most of the night.

“My team is just playing really well,” Pirates coach Jim Hayford said.

The Missionaries entered the game having won eight of their last nine games. You would have never known that by halftime. Whitworth built a 29-point halftime lead and was never contested.

The Pirates led 16-10 when 6-foot-8 center Felix Friedt picked up his second foul with 13:31 remaining in the half. With the biggest player on the floor no longer on it, it seemed like an opportune time for the Missionaries to gain some traction. The exact opposite happened.

The Pirates proceeded to score 17 consecutive points to put the game away.

The Missionaries fell to 10-6, 3-4.

In place of Friedt, an active Jack Loofburrow came off the bench to hit a basket and a 3 after a David Riley 3 and Whitworth was off and running. After the half, the Pirates went to Friedt to put the game out of reach.

“We wanted to establish Felix inside,” Hayford said. “He’s so big and strong and they just couldn’t match up to him.”

Friedt scored five of the team’s first eight baskets of the second half and that was it for the Missionaries.

“They played the way the third-ranked team in the country is supposed to play,” Bridgeland said.

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