Whitworth cast a wide offensive net against the University of California-Santa Cruz Saturday night at the Fieldhouse, with nine players chipping in points as the 15th-ranked Pirates reeled in a 61-48 win.
“I told the team that offense comes and goes,” coach Matt Logie said. “Our calling card will have to be our defense, and I was proud of the effort we gave tonight, holding them to 48 points.”
And just like the offense, that effort came from a variety of sources. Logie used nine players for at least five minutes of game action and, adding in a group that played only the final minute, had 16 different players see action.
Starting post Taylor Farnsworth showed at various points in the contest that his game has just begun to reveal itself. The sophomore from Mead had a season-high seven points and was a solid presence in the middle. Sophomore Adam Wilk, a 6-foot-7 post from Andover, Kan., added six points and showed himself a capable backup.
Clarkston junior Dustin McConnell, taking over at point guard for Wade Gebbers, who was out for his second consecutive game, finished with six points and an equal number of assists.
“Dustin showed he can handle having the keys to the car,” Logie said. “And having Dustin at the point allowed (freshman) George (Valle) to expand his game.”
Valle scored 12 second-half points and finished with 17 to lead the Pirates’ offense for the second straight game, but was the only Whitworth player in double figures.
“George is a very gifted offensive player,” Logie said. “To him, the game comes very slow. He gets into a little trouble because he’ll still try to do too much at times, but he’s fitting in very well. We’re impressed and we’re very happy to have him here.”
The rest of Whitworth’s points came from a variety of sources. Senior forward Mack Larkin scored all of his seven points in the first half to help the team take the lead for good, capping his effort with a long three-pointer with 90 seconds left to give the Pirates an eight-point lead.
Colton McCargar, usually the Pirates’ first player off the bench, responded to his second straight start by tossing in eight points and grabbing a team-high nine rebounds.
“We’re a young team and these guys are still figuring out what it takes to play consistently at this level,” Logie said. “Most of these guys, especially our inside guys, didn’t play a lot of minutes last year. They’re learning what kind of effort it takes to play and the level of work it takes to prepare to play.”
In the dozen games since the two teams first played in 2003, Whitworth is 12-0 against the Banana Slugs, including five wins in the Fieldhouse, two wins at Santa Cruz and five wins on a neutral floor.
Whitworth, now 4-1 and winners of four straight, turns its attention to back-to-back games with Northwest Conference opponents when Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound play at the Fieldhouse Friday and Saturday.