LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Kenny Love scored a career-high 28 points to lead Whitworth to a 68-65 win over Calvin on Tuesday night at the D3hoops.com Classic in the South Point Arena.
The second-ranked Pirates improved to 10-0 thanks to a 14-1 run late in the second half that turned the tide in Whitworth's favor.
Love made 12-13 from the free throw line as his drives to the basket perplexed the Calvin defense throughout the game. He was 6-13 from the field, including 4-8 from three-point range.
The Pirates built two big leads in the first half, but could not shake Calvin (4-6). Love hit his first two three-pointers and scored all eight points as Whitworth took an 8-0 lead in the first 1:15. But the Knights came back to take a 13-11 lead on a pair of free throws by Michael Welch. Love's fourth three-pointer of the first half capped a 13-2 run that gave the Pirates a 28-17 lead with 5:29 left. But Calvin fought back to within 32-28 at halftime.
The teams traded leads over the first ten minutes of the second half. The Knights looked poised to pull the upset after Wilks converted a three-point play to give Calvin a 52-48 lead with nine minutes to play. But that's when Whitworth went on its 14-1 run to retake control of the game. Christian Jurlina started it with a three-pointer and his jumper extended the advantage to 62-53 with 4:43 left in the game.
The Pirates still led by eight points (67-59) with 1:20 to play after a pair of free throws by Drew Sears. But Calvin hit back to back three-pointers to pull within two. Matt Staudacher had a chance to clinch the game at the free throw line with three seconds to play. He made one of the two free throws, but Calvin was not able to get a clean look at a potential tying basket.
Love surpassed his previous career high of 26 points he scored against Linfield last season. Jurlina, Sears and George Valle each scored eight points. Sears led the Pirates with six rebounds.
Jordan Daley had 14 points for Calvin, while Wilks came off of the bench for 12 points. Mike Siegel added ten to give the Knights three players in double figures.
Whitworth will conclude its trip to Las Vegas with a game against Mary Hardin-Baylor on Wednesday at 4:00 pm.