by Peter Houston-Hencken
The men’s basketball team added two more victories to their now 15-game winning streak last weekend. The Pirates defeated the Pacific Lutheran Lutes, 93-62 and the Puget Sound Loggers, 87-68 to keep their top spot in the NWC, 8-0 and their No. 1 spot in the nation.
The Friday-night match began with an early lead assisted by senior George Valle. Valle scored eight shots from the field as well as a 3-pointer in the first half. The Pirates surged ahead and less than ten minutes into the game, the score was 26-6.
“We were able to come out really fast,” Valle said. “So I just took what the game flow gave me. I was able to knock down a couple open looks and get my confidence up.”
Junior Kenny Love also assisted the Pirates in the first half by scoring four shots from the field and two 3-pointers.
The rest of the half consisted of the Pirates strengthening their lead and shutting down the Lutes. By the end of the first half, the score had reached 47-25.
The Pirates did not ease up on the Lutes in the second half. Junior Christian Jurlina greatly assisted the team in the second half by scoring two 3-pointers. Jurlina made a total of eight shots from the field on Friday night.
The Pirates nearly doubled their score in the second half, while the Lutes were only able to make 37 points. The Pirates made 55.7 percent of their shots from the field Friday night compared to Pacific Lutheran’s 33.9 percent. The match ended with a score of 93-62.
“We wanted to attack quickly in transition,” Head Coach Matt Logie said. “It starts with your defense. You have got to get stops. I thought our guys did a good job of attacking.”
The Puget Sound Loggers brought an early pressure to Saturday’s match. The Loggers briefly took the lead at 5-4, but the Pirates soon took it back and would hold it for the rest of the game. However, they did not do so with ease. For the entire first half, the Loggers closely trailed Whitworth and never fell behind more than nine points.
“UPS is a really good team,” Logie said. “Coming into this weekend they won five of their last six games so you never feel like you’re out of the woods.”
Valle succeeded in scoring two three pointers in the first half and led the Pirate’s offensively. The half ended with a score of 41-33.
The Pirates pulled ahead in the second half with the help of Jurlina. Jurlina scored four shots from the field in the second half and 22 for the entire match. The Pirates slowly increased their score throughout the second half, gaining as much as a 24-point lead. The match ended with a score of 87-68.
“I think it came down to defense,” Jurlina said. “We had to step up, make sure that we didn’t let them have wide-open three [pointers], we didn’t let their drivers have easy driving lanes.”
The Pirates will face Linfield College and Lewis & Clark College in Oregon this coming weekend. The games will be held on Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m., respectfully.