The Whitworth men’s basketball team started hot and never let up as it thrashed the visiting Linfield Wildcats in a game that never was one.
Sophomore forward George Valle dribbled in the paint, reversed and then hit the game’s opening bucket. It just took a couple more hours to decide the final tally Friday night: 91-59.
“We try to focus on every segment of the game, in 4-minute intervals,” Whitworth coach Matt Logie said. “I thought tonight was a very businesslike performance.”
And business was good. The Northwest Conference-leading Pirates (17-4, 11-1) shot a searing 64.3 percent in the first half and 56.1 for the game to bury Linfield (3-17, 1-10) while winning its eighth straight game.
If the Pirates weren’t scoring, they were pillaging the Wildcats on defense, scoring 21 points off turnovers in the first half.
“I thought our transition game was good for us. That created a lot of easy scoring opportunities,” Logie said.
He also praised the play of Valle, who along with three others scored a game-high 11 points.
“I was really pleased with George’s aggressiveness,” Logie said. “He really got us going in the first half.”
Valle said with senior guards Colton McCargar (five points), Robby Douglas (10 points) and Dustin McConnell (11 points) filling up the stat sheet, opponents’ defenses have focused on stopping the outside shots.
“That allowed me to catch the ball in the mid-post and I was able to get some good looks at the basket,” Valle said.
Whitworth raced to a commanding 47-23 lead at halftime.
Douglas found his shooting touch and was unstoppable for stretches in the first half – adding seven points – to finish the game with 10.
Christian Jurlina, a 6-foot-5 freshman wing from Sydney, Australia, came off the bench to score 10 as Whitworth dominated every facet of the game.
Vinnie Toor came on late in the game to lead the Wildcats with 10 points, the only Linfield player to reach double figures while five Whitworth players did.
Whitworth plays again tonight at 8 against George Fox. The Bruins handed Whitworth its only conference loss on Jan. 17.
The game is also Senior Night for McConnell, McCargar and Douglas.
“I’m really excited to get another chance to play those guys,” Valle said of George Fox. “Hopefully we’ll pull out the win.”