The Whitworth Pirates opened their home season Friday night showcasing both the old and new players in an impressive 86-74 men’s basketball victory over SUNY College at Old Westbury.
With senior guards Dustin McConnell and Colton McCargar running the floor, freshman Kenny Love stole the show scoring 24 points in his first game in front of the Whitworth fans.
“Kenny had a great offensive game,” coach Matt Logie said. “He was very aggressive. We are very excited about him.”
McCargar hustled all night to get 21 points. McConnell had 15 and Adam Wilks 11, mostly coming inside.
“Adam’s had a great start of the season,” Logie said of his 6-foot-7 junior forward. “We are really excited about the depth we have.”
Whitworth (2-0) plays tonight at 8 against Colorado College (1-0) at the Fieldhouse.
The Bucs struggled with the athletes from Old Westbury, who came out sloppy in the first half before making a few runs.
“It was difficult for either team to get much flow,” Logie said. “But we made some key plays when we had to.”
Behind the scoring of 6-6 Tyrik Tucker, the Panthers gave Whitworth fits all night around the paint.
Tucker, who made 11 of 12 free throws, led the Panthers (2-2) with 24 points. Al Alexander had 14 and Anton Morris nine for the team from New York that was 25-4 last year.
The Panthers came out like they rode a bus all the way from New York. They threw the ball away and committed several ill-advised fouls.
Whitworth’s George Valle took advantage as he scored a layup and a 3-pointer to put the Pirates up 5-0.
Old Westbury answered with 3s from Alexander and Tucker to take a 6-5 lead. It would be the last lead for the Panthers.
With just seconds left in the half, Love took the ball, drew the defender out, stepped out and banked in a long 3 just as time expired to give Whitworth a 45-34 lead at the break.
The Pirates came out plundering in the second half and extended their lead to 19. The Panthers answered and at one point cut the lead to six.
But McConnell, McCargar and Love all hit big shots to extend the lead back to 14 with just over a minute to play.
There were 72 free-throw attempts in the game. Whitworth made 32 of 41 and Old Westbury 22 of 31.