The Whitworth men’s basketball team started strong and never let its foot off the gas as the Pirates pillaged Pacific Lutheran 78-59 Saturday night at Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The Lutes looked like they left their offense on the bus as they took more than six minutes to score a point. As a team, the Lutes shot only 21.4 percent from the field in the first half and appeared lucky to be down just 13 points – 35-22 – at the break.
“Our defensive execution was very solid the entire night,” Whitworth coach Matt Logie said. “They were committed to getting stops early. That got us going.”
Pacific Lutheran (5-11, 3-4) hit only six field goals in the first half. Four of them were 3-pointers by Brandon Lester, who finished with a game-high 22 points. No other teammate scored more than six points.
“This is the first time since I’ve been here that we have been able to separate ourselves against Pacific Lutheran,” Logie said. “They fought tonight. They just didn’t make very many shots.”
But that wasn’t a problem for the Pirates (15-2, 8-0), who continue to lead the Northwest Conference. Derek Isaak hit 4 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc for a career-high 18 points.
“The first couple shots they left me open. Then I just got in a groove,” said the sophomore guard from Coulee City. “It’s nice to see the ball go in the hoop.”
Sophomore guard Kenny Love scored 16 points and senior center Taylor Farnsworth had 12. The team’s leading scorer, Christian Jurlina, scored only five points but he had a team-high nine rebounds.
The Bucs shot 57.7 percent from the field and won the battle of the boards 43-21.
The Lutes shot 33.9 percent from the field, but were 10 of 24 from 3-point territory.
“We hunkered down and challenged shots,” Logie said. “Our defense forced a lot of misses.”
Whitworth had a scare in the first half when starting forward George Valle took a fall chasing a rebound and remained on the court for several minutes. He returned to the game and scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds. After the game, Valle said he struck the base of the basket with his shoulder. He said he was sore, but otherwise fine.
Isaak said the team was glad to have a commanding victory after a close 78-72 win Friday over Puget Sound.
“It was nice to do in the second half what coach has been telling us to do all week,” he said. “Tonight was my night but we have great players. It could have been any one of them.”
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