Bucs Basketball looks to swallow struggles heading into NWC Championship

by Henry Miller | Staff Writer

Whitworth’s men’s basketball looks to rebound from slow second half and head into its likely conference championship matchup against Whitman. The Pirates, who are 9-3 in conference play, lost two games to top-ranked Whitman and a close matchup with up start Willamette. Whitman, who is currently ranked number two in the country, and who is undefeated in conference play, is the clear favorite for the NWC championship, with Whitworth in second place. Whitworth, which is ranked 15th in the nation with a combined record of 19-4, has not dominated teams the way it did last year when they defeated Whitman for the NWC championship.

Last year’s conference player of the year, senior Kyle Roach, has not put up the scoring numbers that he did last year- which is one reason the Bucs haven’t put up their impressive offensive numbers like they did last year. The most significant blow has been the loss of senior point guard Garret Hull, who tore every ligament in his knee, ending his 2018-2019 season early. Hull will keep a year of eligibility and rejoin the team next season.

The Pirates’ low point of the season came from a two-game skid which included a double-digit loss to Whitman and a late-game loss to Willamette.

The bright spot in Whitworth’s offense has been junior guard Ben College who is averaging 20.7 points per game. College set the school record for three-pointers made in a game with 11 and has a chance to finish the regular season as a part of the distinguished 50-40-90 club. This meaning 50 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent shooting from the three point line, and 90 percent shooting from the free-throw line. This testament to a shooter’s ability has only been done by seven different NBA players, the most recent being Golden State’s Steph Curry who won league MVP honors. With his impressive shooting numbers and being the second leading scorer in the country, look for College to win Conference player of the year for the 2018-2019 season.

As seniors finished their last home game Saturday night with a 107-98 overtime over George Fox, Head Coach Matt Logie reflected on his time with some of Whitworth’s seniors.

“The word we talked about in shoot-around today was ‘joy’,” head coach Matt Logie said.  “These seniors have invested so much into the program and the relationships with their teammates.  They played with that joy tonight and the rest of the team rallied around that.”

Seniors Jared Christy, Kyle Roach, Ben Bishop, and Kevin Crosno hope to cap off their Whitworth career with another NWC Championship, which for some would be their third. Kyle Roach took home the conference Player of the Year honors last year, after dazzling the conference with his scoring proficiency.

With a two-game road trip on Friday the 15th starting at PLU and finishing up at Puget Sound, the Bucs look to cap of the season with two more wins to solidify their spot in the NWC championship game Saturday the 23rd.

The developing freshman and sophomore class of players as well as senior vets like Jordan Lester and Ben College will continue to keep the tradition of winning in the Pirate Basketball program.