SPOKANE, Wash. – Kyle Roach and Ben College scored 28 points apiece to lead 8th-ranked Whitworth to a 98-91 win over visiting Lewis & Clark College in a Northwest Conference men's basketball game on Friday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The Pirates (11-1 overall, 3-0 NWC) built a 21-point lead in the opening half, but had to hold off a determined rally by the Pioneers. Lewis & Clark (4-8, 0-3) got to within seven points and had the ball with less than five minutes to play in the game before Whitworth pulled away again.
Roach finished with a team-high five assists while College drained five three-pointers in seven attempts. They combined to go 20-33 from the floor as Whitworth shot 50% from the field for the third game in a row.
Lewis & Clark led for only the first minute of the game after Mak Hutson scored the contest's first basket. College answered with a three-pointer. By the time he hit his second trey, Whitworth had jumped out to a 13-4 lead four and a half minutes into the game. When Isaiah Hernandez hit a short jumper with three minutes to go in the first period, the Pirates had taken a 48-27 lead. L&C was able to pull within 52-36 at the break.
A pair of Niko Bricker free throws trimmed the margin to 54-43 early in the second period before Whitworth went back ahead 74-54 on a Ben Bishop basket with 11:10 to go. Still trailing 80-63, the Pioneers used a 13-3 run to get within 83-76 and they were still within 86-79 and had the ball with a chance to get closer. Andrew Vickers missed two looks at a three-pointer, the Pirates made a stop and College answered with a layup, sparking a quick 7-0 spurt.
"We played really good defense in the first half and gave ourselves an opportunity to put the game away in the second half," said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. "But we didn't defend and rebound like we needed to. We've had good halves, but we're still looking for our first consistent effort for an entire game."
Jared Christy posted his fifth double-double of the season for the Pirates with 11 points and 12 rebounds. He added four assists. Hernandez scored nine points off of the bench. Whitworth made 34 of 68 shots from the floor and finished with a slight lead in rebounding (42-37).
Vickers scored 28 points for Lewis & Clark, while Hutson had 15 and Bricker finished with 14. Vickers made it a double-double with 11 boards, while Hutson dished four assists. L&C shot 53% in the second half.
Whitworth will host Pacific University on Saturday looking to remain unbeaten in NWC play.