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Sunday, May 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Sports

Whitworth rolls in season opener

Whitworth basketball fans got a good look at their new starting guards, who in turn got half a season’s worth of open looks at the basket Saturday night.

In a mismatch from start to finish, the 17th-ranked Pirates passed the ball with crisp efficiency on the way to 103-49 win over D’Youville College front of 1,240 fans at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

“I was a little nervous at first,” said shooting guard Kionte Brown, a sophomore from Shadle Park who along with point Matt Staudacher moved into the roles vacated by Colton McCargar and Dustin McConnell, respectively.

“It’s nice to be starting, but in reality, we all play,” said Brown.

They certainly did on Saturday: All 16 Pirates saw action and 14 of them scored. Along the way, they dished out 31 assists.

“That was just phenomenal … I just happened to be on the receiving end of most of them,” said forward Christian Jurlina, who finished with a game-high 22 points, all but two of them in the first half.

Jurlina was 9 for 17 from the field in the game. He and post Taylor Farnsworth each had eight rebounds.

Twelve days after a solid 94-79 exhibition loss at Division I Montana, the Pirates controlled Saturday’s game from the start.

How bad was it? D’Youville didn’t score its second field goal until midway through the first half. By then, the Pirates were up 24-5 on a 3-pointer by Jurlina. By halftime, the visitors from Buffalo were outrebounded 29 to 11 and hit just 5 of 24 shots and trailed 54-18.

More milestones fell in the second half. Jurlina’s jumper with 13:58 left gave Whitworth its first 50-point lead, 71-20.

At that point, the only mystery was whether the Pirates would hit the 100-point mark. With barely a minute to play, backup forward Ekow Nottinson-Nyaaku did the honors with a rebound and putback that made it 101-47.

“I was really pleased with our effort tonight,” said coach Matt Logie, who got 11 players into the game by halftime.

“Our intensity level never dipped, allowing our guys off of the bench to come in and be productive,” Logie said.

For the game, the Pirates shot 39 for 74 (52.7 percent) from the field and 15 of 35 (42.9 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc. Brown finished with 14 points, while Staudacher had seven points and four assists.

The Spartans, who compete in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference and finished 1-24 last year, made only one decent run when it mattered, cutting a 24-5 Whitworth lead to 29-13 midway through the first half.

The only D’Youville player to make an impact was 5-foot-10 guard Marcus Clarke, who finished with 20 points.

Whitworth hosts Rutgers-Newark on Thursday at 8 p.m.

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