It was a tale of two halves for the Whitworth Pirates on Monday night in a men’s basketball season-opening exhibition 94-79 loss to Montana in Missoula.
The second half, good. The first half, well, not so.
The Division III Pirates, after bolting to a 14-7 lead, fell behind the hot-shooting Division I Grizzlies 47-31 at halftime.
Led by Kenny Love, who scored 14 of his 15 points after intermission, and George Valle, who got 12 of his 21, Whitworth cut the deficit to single digits on three occasions but the Griz held on.
Whitworth was 30 of 37 on free throws, 20 of 23 the second half, but the singles were no match for Montana’s 11 of 22 on 3 pointers. Whitworth was just 1 of 8.
Idaho, with four starters back from its 2014 NCAA tournament team, tips off its season tonight with an exhibition game against Central Washington in Memorial Gym at 6.
Stacey Barr, the 2014 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year and tournament MVP, leads the returners after averaging 18.2 points and 7.7 rebounds a game. Also back are Christina Salvatore; Ali Forde, an All-WAC defender; and point guard Connie Ballestero.
Kennedy Chadwick, a North Idaho College sophomore, is the Scenic West Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week after amassing 55 digs and five assists with a .941 passing percentage as the Cardinals split with Salt Lake and Snow.
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