Whits come into focus with win
Scoring fine; need offensive boards
After his Pirates dropped their season-opening game with St. Thomas on Saturday, second-year Whitworth men’s basketball coach Matt Logie said his team was still trying to figure out what kind of a team it is going to be in 2012-13.
Now a week into the season, Logie has a better handle on his team’s identity: The Pirates (1-1) have plenty of guys who can fill up the scoreboard, but are still looking for someone to take charge of the misses.
Colton McCargar came off the Whitworth bench to score 13 points and fuel a second-half rally that lifted the Pirates past the Crusaders of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 70-61, Friday afternoon at the Fieldhouse.
“We have some guys who can shoot the ball,” Logie said. “But we’re not going to be a team that has the luxury of being able to stand around and pound the ball inside. We could do that at times last year; this year we’re going to have to keep moving our feet and keep moving the ball.”
It was the 14th-ranked Pirates’ second straight home game against an athletic team against whom Whitworth had never played but has high hopes for the coming season.
“That’s another very good team, a very athletic team,” Logie said of the Crusaders (1-1). “They’re expected to win their conference and have some key pieces back from last year.”
The Pirates shot almost 54 percent from the field (14 of 26) and converted 6 of 15 shots from beyond the 3-point arc in the second half, but grabbed just four offensive rebounds in the game – two in each half.
Whitworth did a solid job on the defensive boards with 31, holding the Crusaders to just 10 offensive rebounds and held them without an offensive rebound for the first 13 minutes of the game.
“We’re definitely going to have to do a better job rebounding, and the coaches are stressing that,” senior forward Mack Larkin said. “We have to get used to not having that 6-foot-8 presence in the middle that we had last year in Felix (Friedt). He automatically commanded a lot of respect on both ends of the floor.
“We’re going to need to have whoever is designated to be our rebounder do a better job crashing the boards.”
Four Pirates scored in double figures while their leading scorer from the opener, senior Wade Gebbers, was scoreless from the field. Clarkston junior Dustin McConnell stepped up with 18 points to lead Whitworth, while Larkin and freshman George Valle each contributed 12.
Whitworth, which led by two after the first half, fell behind briefly twice in the second half, the final time with 11:11 left on three Thomas Orr free throws, at 45-44.
From there, the Pirates scored 11 straight points, including back-to-back 3s by McCargar, to lead by 10.
“Colton hit some really big shots for is, both in the first half and again in the second half,” Larkin said. “When you have a guy who can come off the bench and score like that it gives you a lot of confidence.”