Matt Spencer|Staff Writer
The fifth-ranked Whitworth men’s basketball team swept George Fox and Lewis and Clark this weekend, finishing the regular season at 22-3. For the Pirates, Saturday’s game was the last regular season game for the four starting seniors.
On Friday, Whitworth defeated George Fox 91-70 pushing the Bruins back into fourth place in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth shot an impressive 57 percent from the field and were fueled by the play of their senior class.
Senior forward Christian Jurlina shot lights out. He finished 11 for 16 from the field on his way to 26 points. Fellow senior Kenny Love approached a triple-double with eight points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
For Jurlina, the team chemistry built through their four year journey at Whitworth allowed the team to gel on the court.
“Playing with these guys for 4 years has built a lot of trust and love between us as well as strong friendships and I feel that it translates onto the court with our play,” Jurlina said. “We’re unselfish and play together and we work hard on both sides of the court.”
After the victory on Friday, the team had solidified its second-place slot in the Northwest Conference tournament this upcoming week. But the seniors wanted to make sure they finished the season on a strong note against Lewis and Clark.
After the Pirates took a commanding 14-point lead midway through the first half, the Pioneers fought their way back into the game. Despite shooting only 35 percent in the game, Lewis and Clark continue to pressure the Pirates as they cut the lead down to two points at 68-70 with under four minutes to play.
But Whitworth maintained its focus, sinking late free throws and going 18 for 22 (81.8 percent) from the line on route to a 82-73 victory. Sophomore Kyle Roach had 20 points in the game to go with five assists. Alongside Roach, the senior class had a strong showing in their final regular season game.
Senior Drew Sears had 15 points, five rebounds and three major blocks despite playing limited minutes due to foul trouble. Jurlina finished with 18 points and five rebounds. Love was a distributor, accounting for six assists to go with seven boards and four free throws late in the game. Derek Isaak, ‘17, finished with a solid all-around performance notching four boards, three assists, a steal and six points.
After the game, Sears described the feeling of senior night.
“It wasn’t as emotional as we thought partly because we have one more guaranteed home game left,” he said. “But it was great being out there with them getting the job done.”
This Thursday the men’s basketball team will take on the Linfield Wildcats in the Whitworth Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. Whitworth is looking to continue its seven-game win streak in addition to defending their 10-straight conference tournament trophy run. If the Pirates win on Thursday, they will play Saturday at a time and location to be determined.