Pirates Break Open Close Game, Down Whits
News Release Date:
Saturday, February 26
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitworth broke open a close game with a pair of second-half scoring sprees and downed Whitman College 74-50 in the Norrthwest Conference playoff championship game Saturday night in Spokane, Wash.
Whitworth, improving to 26-1 on the season, gets the NWC's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III national championship field.
Whitman, now 19-8 and ranked No. 7 in the West Region, must wait until Monday morning to see if it gets an at-large berth in the national championships.
After defense dominated a first half that ended in a 26-26 tie, the two sides deadlocked again at 33-33 three minutes into the second half. That's when the Pirates used a 9-0 two-minute run to take the lead.
Ahead 53-42 with 10 minutes left to play, Whitworth reeled off eight straight points to the break the game open, extending its lead to 17 points with just under eight minutes remaining.
Whitman, which handed Whitworth its only loss of the season earlier this month in Walla Walla, got 11 points apiece from junior Brandon Shaw and senior Justin Artis.
Freshman Josh Duckworth added 10 points while junior David Michaels snared 10 rebounds.
Sophomore Ignas Pavilonis collected seven rebounds and Shaw pulled down six. Whitman outrebounded the Pirates 42-36.
Senior Mike Taylor led Whitworth with 24 points. Felix Friedt posted a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
The Pirates also got 15 points from Wade Gebbers and 10 more from David Riley.
The first half, played at a fever pitch, was a defensive dogfight that saw both sides take brief leads of five points before they deadlocked at 26-26 at the break.
Whitman's best run came late in the half, when it clicked off seven unanswered points to lead 25-20 with three minutes left before intermission. Artis nailed his second three of the game to spark the run and Duckworth capped it with a layin off a Pirate turnover.
But Taylor countered with a 3-pointer and added a three-point play in the paint to erase the Missionary advantage. Shaw made a free throw with 20 seconds left to forge the halftime tie at 26-all.
Whitman outfought the home team on the backboards in the first half, working its way to a 27-21 rebounding edge. The Missionaries hit just 30.3 percent (10-33 fg) of their shots from the floor in the first half, just a bit more accurate that the Pirates (9-31, 29 percent).
Whitworth compensated by draining six 3-pointers, twice as many as Whitman.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org