Area men’s basketball: Whitworth clinches NWC title

For the third season in a row and the fifth time in the last six years, the Whitworth men’s basketball team is the champion of the Northwest Conference.

The Pirates clinched the regular season crown with Saturday night’s 76-54 win over Pacific University at Forest Grove, Ore.

Idris Lasisi scored 24 points and Jack Loofburrow came off of the bench for 14 to lead the Pirates, who improved to 20-3 overall and 13-1 in the NWC.  Whitworth also clinched its seventh straight 20-win season.

The Pirates hit 64 percent from the field in the first half, including 50 percent from 3-point range.

Lasisi finished 9 of 15 from the field and 4 of 7 from beyond the arc. Loofburrow hit 3 of his 4 3-pointers.  Wade Gebbers scored 10 points and dished five assists.

David Berney was the only Boxer to reach double figures, as he finished with 14 points.

Whitworth has earned home-court advantage throughout the NWC tournament, which will begin with semifinals on Feb. 23.

North Idaho 81, Eastern Utah 78 (3OT): Michael Middlebrooks came within a block of a triple-double and the Cardinals (20-5, 6-4) edged the Eagles (14-10, 2-8) in a triple-overtime Scenic West Athletic Conference game in Coeur d’Alene.

Middlebrooks had 12 points, 21 rebounds and nine blocks. Keon Lewis added a team-high 19 points for NIC.

The Cardinals outscored the Eagles 37-30 in the second half to force the first overtime.

Dashaun Wiggins tallied a game-high 31 points for Eastern Utah.

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