Hot-Shooting Pirates Scramble Past Whitman in Men's Basketball
News Release Date:
Tuesday, February 14
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Shooting 52.9 percent from the floor while knocking down a dozen 3-pointers, Whitworth scrambled past Whitman College 81-74 in Northwest Conference men's basketball action Tuesday night in Sherwood Center.
Idris Lasisi keyed the offense for 10th-ranked Whitworth with 27 points, although there were four other Pirates scoring in double figures.
Whitman, now 10-5 in the NWC and 17-7 overall, was down by two at intermission but saw that deficit grow to 11 points, 66-55, by the 6:18 mark of the second stanza as the Pirates sharpened their collective shooting eye.
But with Whitworth (14-1 NWC, 21-3) ahead 71-61 as the clock slipped under three minutes, the Missionaries made a valiant comeback bid at crunch time.
Senior David Michaels, who triggered the rally with a steal and a dunk, then worked his way inside for another bucket, cutting the Whitworth lead to 71-65.
After Felix Friedt made one of two free throws for the Pirates, junior Ignas Pavilonis canned a Whitman three from the right corner to make it a four-point game with 1:45 left.
Lasisi answered with a fastbreak bucket while drawing a foul on the play. But when he missed the free throw, Michaels rebounded and got the ball into the left corner for Pavilonis, who hit again to draw Whitman within 74-71 with 1:23 remaining.
That's when Lasisi, a senior transfer playing his only season at Whitworth, countered with a 3-point dagger at the other end, bursting Whitman's bubble while ballooning the Pirate lead to six.
Whitman misfired on its next two 3-point attempts as Whitworth ran out the clock.
The victory gave the Pirates a measure of payback for a 77-66 loss they absorbed at the hands of the Missionaries last month in Spokane.
Whitworth was seven of 11 from the 3-point arc in the second half while making 15 of 22 (68.2 percent) of its field goal attempts overall.
Lasisi, a thorn in the shorts for Whitman in more than ways than one, hit 10 of 16 field goal attempts while grabbing six rebounds and handing out five assists.
Whitman's Michaels wreaked just as much havoc for the Pirate defense. The 6-foot-7 Missionary forward, the second-leading scorer in the NWC, was nine of 13 from the floor while scoring 24 points and collecting 12 rebounds.
Pavilonis with 11 points was the only other Missionary scoring in double digits, although sophomores Ben Eisenhardt and LuQuam Thompson added eight points apiece.
Dustin McConnell gave the Pirates 14 points while Wade Gebbers had 11. Mack Larkin and Jack Loofburrow chipped in with 10 points apiece.
Whitman, which also got six rebounds from junior Drew Raher and five more from sophomore Josh Duckworth, out-boarded the Pirates 35-33. Friedt matched Michaels with 12 rebounds.
Whitworth raced to a quick start early in the game, canning four 3-pointers in the first seven minutes to build a 15-10 lead.
But 3-pointers by Pavilonis and junior Peter Clark, followed by a jumper and two free throws from Michaels, vaulted Whitman into a 20-19 lead.
A 3-point strike from sophomore Jordan Dickson, two Duckworth free throws and a jumper by senior Brandon Shaw had Whitman in charge at 27-19 with six minutes left in the half.
After reeling off eight straight points to even the slate, Whitworth surged ahead by five. A Michaels three-point play in the paint and a Pavilonis offensive rebound putback helped Whitman cut its deficit to 38-36 at intermission.
Whitman, which began the night tied with Puget Sound for second place in the NWC, finishes the regular season at 8 p.m. Friday when Willamette (3-11 NWC, 5-18 overall) comes to Sherwood Center.
Whitman beat the Bearcats 98-65 last month in Salem.
Puget Sound plays at Lewis & Clark (7-7 NWC, 12-11) Friday before traveling to Linfield (2-12 NWC, 4-19) on Saturday.
Lewis & Clark and Pacific Lutheran (7-7 NWC, 10-13) are the two teams chasing George Fox (8-6 NWC, 11-12) for the fourth and final spot in next week's conference playoffs.
Whitworth, which clinched the regular season title last weekend, concludes its regular season slate when hosts Willamette at 8 p.m. Saturday in Spokane.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org