The No. 21 Whitworth Pirates secured at least one first-round home game in the four-team Northwest Conference tournament with a 90-76 thrashing of George Fox on Friday night at Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The Bruins got to within nine points at the beginning of the second half, but the Pirates built a lead of 25 points with 9:18 to play and the game never seemed to be in doubt.
“When we did the things we worked on, we were able to build strong leads,” Whitworth coach Matt Logie said. “But we have to do a better job handling the ball. That hurt us at times.”
The Pirates came out on fire and raced to an 11-0 lead before George Fox’s J.J. Lacey hit two free throws to get the Bruins on the board.
Behind the nine points each from Christian Jurlina, Adam Wilks and George Valle, Whitworth built a 21-point first-half lead until the Bruins finally came to life.
“I was happy with our defensive effort,” Logie said. “But there is a lot of work to be done.”
The Bruins forced 12 Whitworth turnovers and Lacey had 14 points to fuel a 16-7 run to make it a game at 49-38 at the break.
The Pirates shot 59.4 percent from the field in the first half and 32 of 64 for the game.
Jurlina, a sophomore wing, led the Pirates with 19 points. Senior post Adam Wilks had 17 points and seven rebounds and Valle finished with 16 points.
The Bruins’ Lacey led all scorers with 22. George Fox (5-17, 3-10) also got 16 points from Andrew Smith.
The Pirates (19-3, 12-1) had 23 turnovers leading to 29 George Fox points. But Whitworth dominated on the boards, winning the rebound battle 54-22.
“We are happy with the outcome,” Logie said. “But we’ve got another good opponent coming in.”
The Pirates host Pacific (Ore.) (11-11, 6-7) at 6 tonight in the final home game of the regular season.
Senior Taylor Farnsworth led the Pirates with nine rebounds to go with his six points. Jurlina added seven assists.
George Fox’s Johnathan Doutt scored 12 points and Chris Stanfield had 11 points in the loss.
Whitworth outscored George Fox 36-10 off the bench.
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