Men's Basketball Falls to Whitworth 93 - 72 in NWC Championship Game
Spokane, Wash. -- The No. 8 ranked Whitworth Pirates won their 7th straight Northwest Conference Championship defeating the Missionaries 93-72 at Whitworth Fieldhouse on a night when Whitworth shot an impressive 57 % from the field and 47 % from three-point land. The Pirates advance to the NCAA Tournament with a 24 - 3 record while Whitman waits to learn its fate as the tournament field will be announced Monday. The Whits, with the loss, stand at 19 -8.
Ben Eisenhardt, Jr.
Forward Ben Eisenhardt (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA) and point-guard Josh Duckworth (Jr., Los Angeles, CA) each had 21 points for Whitman. "Big Ben", the NWC Player of the Year, was 8 - 9 from the field and 5 - 7 from the line. Forward Mack Larkin led the Pirates with 22, on 10 - 13 shooting, with guards Wade Gebbers adding 16 and Colton McCargar 15.
Whitworth came out hitting from beyond the arc in the opening minutes and never stopped in the first half, finishing the first stanza shooting 62 % from the field, and 69 % from beyond the arc -- Gebbers did most of the early damage, going 4 of 4 on treys.
Josh Duckworth, Jr.
Eisenhardt helped the Missionaries withstand the early barrage, as he scored Whitman's first 8 points, finishing the 1st half with 14 on a variety of inside moves and drives to the hoop. But he could not do it alone and soon Whitworth took a 20- 10 lead after a 3pointer from the wing by Colton McCarger, prompting a Whitman timeout at the 12:27 mark. The Pirates extended their margin to 37 - 20 on a Gebbers deep three with 6:23 remaining in the half and pushed it out to a 21-point margin, 53 - 32, at the break
The Whits kept themselves within contact in the first fifteen minutes at the free throw line, converting their first 14 attempts -- Duckworth, Eisenhardt and Drew Raher (Sr., San Francisco, CA) all making 4 of 4, with Matt Mounier (So., Encino, CA) hitting a pair.
Whitworth continued to cruise offensively at the outset of the 2nd half, taking its biggest margin of the game 63 - 38 on a Larkin layup with just less than four minutes off the clock; at that stage, the Bucs were still shooting a lofty 66 % from the field (26 - 40).
A Tyler Farnsworth follow-up made it a 31-point lead, 79 - 48 with 9:40 left in the game. Unlike the teams' last meeting at Whitman, the Pirates handled the Missionary full-court press, turning the ball over only 7 times. Whitman lost it only 11 times.
While Whitworth hovered near the 60 % mark from long range most of the game -- finishing at 47 % -- the Missionaries saw a lid cover the basket, making only one trey for the entire contest (1 - 15) when Phil Chircu (Fr., Ryde, Australia) sank a three with ten seconds remaining in the 2nd half. Whitman did see success from the charity stripe, converting 29 - 33 (87 %).
"Whitworth was really good", said Whitman head coach Eric Bridgeland. "We picked a bad time to not show up. Give credit to Whitworth for a great performance."
Whitman Sports Information Director