A night after Whitworth battled through a thrilling come-from-behind 76-73 win against Pacific Lutheran, the Puget Sound Loggers came into Whitworth Fieldhouse Saturday.
It looked like déjà vu all over again.
The game started like the one on Friday night, with both teams trading the lead like haymakers. But Whitworth used a late offensive run to pull away for a 60-49 victory that puts them 4-0 in the Northwest Conference.
“I thought our defense carried us tonight,” Pirates coach Matt Logie said. Friday night “we didn’t have the intensity or focus we expect. But when you can keep a team under 50 points, you’ve got a pretty good chance to win.”
The Loggers (6-7, 2-2) lost a 94-87 heartbreaker in overtime Friday night at Whitman. They came into the Whitworth Fieldhouse and scrapped early in a game that seemed destined to come down to the last possession.
But behind the senior guard duo of Colton McCargar and Dustin McConnell, the Pirates (10-3, 4-0) made runs late in both halves to put the game away. The win puts Whitworth alone in first place in the league.
“I thought Dustin’s toughness and Taylor Farnsworth’s toughness really got us off to a good start,” Logie said. “UPS is a big, strong team. They play really hard and are well coached.”
Guard Erin Barber led the Loggers with 11 points. Leading scorer Rex Nelson, a 6-foot-4 forward from Enumclaw, scored six, which is 10 points under his season average.
McCargar led all scorers with 16 and McConnell, who continually drove the lane, scored 15 points on mostly contested shots.
“They played very hard and crashed the boards,” McConnell said of the Loggers. “It’s always a battle with UPS.”
The teams both played smothering defense, which led to some rather ugly shooting numbers. Puget Sound shot 32.7 percent from the floor and Whitworth wasn’t much better at 35.8 percent.
In the first half, the teams battled to four ties and six lead changes before McConnell and McCargar scored five quick points to take a 30-21 lead into the break.
The Loggers came out in the second half and closed the gap to 40-39 with 8:06 to play. But a McCargar 3-point shot sparked a run that eventually put Puget Sound away.
The Pirates next play Friday on the road at George Fox.
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