SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth used a late 17-2 run to overcome a seven point deficit and defeat visiting Texas Lutheran 95-87 in the Quality Inn Whit Classic on Friday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The 12th-ranked Pirates (2-0) trailed the Bulldogs (3-1) 77-70 with just over five minutes to play before Christian Jurlina jump-started the game-winning run by converting a four-point play. Kenny Love followed with his own three-pointer to tie the game and then added two free throws, hit a lay-up and assisted Kyle Roach's three-pointer for an 84-77 Whitworth lead. The Bucs would not trail again.
"We were finally able to buckle down in the final five minutes and get big stops, which led to transition opportunities at the other end," said Pirate head coach Matt Logie. "We were able to ride that momentum to the finish."
Roach posted career-highs of 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead four Pirates in double figures. Love scored 21 points and dished five assists. Drew Sears added his own double-double with 18 points and 10 boards, while Jurlina scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half.
Whitworth was incredibly efficient at the free throw line, making 25 of 26 attempts (96.2%) as a team. The Bucs shot 50.8% (31-61) from the field, including 40% (8-20) from three-point range. Whitworth finished with a 34-29 edge on the boards.
"One thing we do really well is finish at the free throw line," Logie said. "All five of our starters are capable of shooting 90% at the line."
Zach Behr had a big game for TLU with 26 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Jordan Kouremetis added 13 points for the Bulldogs, who finished the game 52.6% (30-57) from the floor. TLU made 39.1% (9-23) from beyond the arc and 75% (18-24) at the free throw line.
The first half featured two big swings in momentum. The Pirates hit five early three-pointers, taking a 19-11 lead on Roach's fourth trey in the first eight minutes of the game. But TLU responded with an 18-0 run, including back-to-back three-pointers by Jacob Kouremetis, to open up a 29-19 lead. Whitworth was able to claw back to within 39-37 at halftime.
Derek Isaak's layup with 12 minutes to play gave Whitworth a 58-53 lead and it appeared the Pirates had taken control of the game. But the Bulldogs had one more big run, outscoring the Pirates 12-1 over the next 2:15 to go up 65-59 on Shawn Hamilton's three-pointer. When Jacob Kouremetis scored inside with 5:18 to go, TLU had taken its 77-70 lead and looked primed for the upset. But the Bucs outscored TLU 25-10 the rest of the way.
Whitworth will close the Quality Inn Whit Classic on Saturday at 7:00 pm against Schreiner (Texas). Texas Lutheran will take on 9th-ranked Whitman at 5:00 pm. Fans who bring two non-perishable food items to the Whitworth Fieldhouse will once again receive admission to the games.
Whitman 90, Schreiner 61
Tim Howell scored 22 points to lead four players in double figures as the 9th-ranked Blues (2-0) dominated the Mountaineers 90-61 in the opening game of the Quality Inn Whit Classic.
Whitman jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, stretched the margin to 17-4 and never looked back. The Blues led 52-26 at halftime, primarily due to the fact that they forced 16 Schreiner turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. Whitman eventually led by 37 points with 15 minutes to play before the Blues went deep into their bench for most of the second half.
Joey Hewitt added 14 points for Whitman, while Jase Harrison scored 12 and Ben Beattie added 11 off of the bench. The Blues shot 41.7% (30-72) from the field, 42.% (17-40) from three-point range.
Jared Thompson led the Mountaineers (1-4) with 13 points and Keenan Gumbs totaled 11. Schreiner shot 38.2% (21-55) from the floor, 31.3% (5-16) from beyond the arc.