The St. Thomas Tommies seemingly couldn’t miss a 3-pointer all night at the Whitworth Fieldhouse, making almost 80 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.
That led to a 90-69 road win, handing the Whitworth Pirates their second loss in a row. The Tommies had five players score in double figures in a battle of nationally ranked Division III basketball teams.
The 13th-ranked Tommies made 11 of 14 3-point attempts – nine of them in the first half – and shot 65 percent from the field, answering any threat the 17th-ranked Pirates posed.
“We ran into a buzz saw,” head coach Matt Logie said. “St. Thomas is a team that played extremely well tonight. If there are 12 teams better than them in the country, I’d like to find them because that’s one heck of a basketball team.”
Taylor Montero led the way for the Tommies, scoring 20 points in 31 minutes of work. Marcus Alipate did the job from beyond the arc, scoring 14 points, with 12 of them coming from 3-point land.
“Defensively, we’ve got to do a better job with pressuring the basketball, contesting shots,” Logie said. “They were too comfortable tonight and that lead to a really uphill climb in terms of staying close.”
Each time the Pirates threatened, the Tommies answered one way or another.
The Pirates didn’t shoot their first free throw until the 14:16 mark of the second half. By then, the Tommies had been the aggressor from all spots on the court while enjoying a comfortable 59-48 lead.
Overall, Whitworth shot the ball well, making 59 percent of its shots from the field, though the Pirates attempted only four 3-pointers.
“Our concern really wasn’t with the offensive side of the floor for most of the game,” Logie said.
“We just have to do a better job defensively guarding our man, contesting shots and just competing.”
The Pirates also spread the ball around and finished with four players in double figures, with Matt Staudacher leading the way with 13 points. But it was the Tommies’ dominance beyond the 3-point line in the first half that sunk any hope of a victory for the Pirates.
“I thought they came out and punched us right in the mouth,” said Whitworth junior guard George Valle, who finished with 10 points.
“We weren’t able to take that hit well enough.”
Despite the loss to a team as quick as the Tommies, the Pirates don’t believe there is too much to worry about.
“They were definitely a fast team and have a lot of athleticism across the board, but I don’t think it’s anything we can’t handle,” Valle said.
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