PARKLAND, Wash. – Sixth-ranked Whitworth dominated the second half on both ends of the court to come away with a 72-48 win at Pacific Lutheran in a Northwest Conference men's basketball game on Friday night at Olson Auditorium.
The Pirates outscored the Lutes 43-18 in the second period to improve to 19-3 overall and 10-3 in the NWC.
Whitworth struggled throughout the first half against PLU (11-11 overall, 6-7 NWC). The Pirates made only 11-30 shots from the field (36.7%), including only 3-12 (25%) from three-point range. The Lutes, who had a 25-20 edge in rebounds, took several four-point leads and went into halftime ahead 30-29.
But Whitworth turned things around in the second half as the teams traded leads in the early going. The Bucs went up 42-35 on a jumper by Christian Jurlina before PLU pulled to within 42-41 with just under 13 minutes left. But then Whitworth rode a game-deciding 13-0 run over the next six minutes to grab a 54-41 lead.
The Pirates continued to hit shots the rest of the way and limited the Lutes to only 6-25 (24%) from the field in the second half. Meanwhile Whitworth improved to 48.6% (17-35) after halftime, including 50% (6-12) from beyond the arc. And the Pirates outrebounded PLU 22-16 after the break.
"We just stuck with it offensively and continued to do what we do in the second half and eventually things started to even out," said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. "But it was our defense in the second half that stepped up and really forced PLU to take some tough shots."
Jurlina posted his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Roach led the Pirates with 17 points. Kenny Love dished five assists and came away with four steals to go along with eight points.
Jared Christy had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead PLU. Brandon Lester added a dozen points. The Lutes finished the game shooting only 30% (18-60) from the field. It is the lowest shooting percentage for a Whitworth opponent this season.
The Pirates have now won 25 games in a row over PLU. Whitworth will complete its trip to the Tacoma area with a game at Puget Sound on Saturday night.