SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth University had little trouble running away from visiting Willamette University during a 97-56 Northwest Conference men's basketball victory on Friday night.
With leading scorer Ben College blanketed by several Bearcat defenders all night, several other players stepped up to take on the scoring load for the 22nd-ranked Pirates (9-3 overall, 3-0 NWC).
Whitworth had taken a 12-5 lead over the Bearcats (1-11, 0-3) by the first media timeout, thanks in part to three-pointers by Reed Brown and College. The Pirates quickly stretched the advantage to 25-7 on College's second three-pointer with nine minutes gone. Willamette cut the deficit to 27-15 on a jumper by Justus Eaglesmith, but that's as close as the Bearcats would get. Whitworth led by 22 points (42-20) later in the half and by 49-30 at halftime.
The Pirates steadily pulled away throughout the second half, opening a 31-point lead (71-40) with 11 minutes to play and a 40-point margin (87-47) with just over four minutes to go. Both teams' benches played significant minutes throughout the second half.
Whitworth was dominant on both ends of the floor. The Pirates shot 54% (37-68) from the field, held Willamette to only 35% (21-60) and dominated the boards 45-33.
Sam Lees led the Bucs with 17 points, while Rowan Anderson came off the bench for a dozen. College, Garrett Hull and Liam Fitzgerald all finished with 10 points apiece, with Fitzgerald leading the team on the boards (7). Anderson dished four of the Pirates' 19 assists.
Eaglesmith led Willamette with 12 points, while Ben Sutton and Daniel Plumer each scored 11.
Whitworth will host Lewis & Clark on Saturday at 8:00 pm, two hours later than originally scheduled due to weather-related travel issues for the Pioneers.