FOREST GROVE – No. 9 ranked Whitworth used a huge first half and a equally big night from Idris Lasisi to claim their third straight Northwest Conference men's basketball championship Saturday night, sailing past Pacific 76-54 at the Stoller Center.
The Pirates' second leading scorer, Lasisi scored 24 points on 9 of 15 from the field and 4 of 7 from three-point range. His 14-point performance in the first half led a 64.3 percent shooting effort for Whitworth as they hit 18 of 28 from the field and 6 of 12 from the arc. Whitworth (20-3, 13-1 NWC) finished the night shooting 51.8 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range.
The victory gave Whitworth their third straight conference championship and their fifth in the last six years. The 2012 title is their first under new head coach Matt Logie.
Pacific (9-14, 3-11 NWC) struggled shooting all night, connecting on 40.8 percent from the field (20-49) and 33 percent from three-point range (4-12). The Boxers shot just 39 percent in the midst of Whitworth's torrid first half.
David Berney (Jr., Eugene, Ore.) led Pacific with 14 points, connecting on 4 of 6 from the field, 2 of 3 from long range and 4 of 4 from the free throw line. Charles Mosley (Jr., Hillsboro, Ore.) finished with nine points while Colin Wester (Jr., Sherwood, Ore.) pulled down a game-high six rebounds as the Boxers out-rebounded the Bucs 32-28.
Pacific hit their first two buckets to being the contest, but Whitworth quickly turned the tide and built up to a 22-13 lead on a Lasisi jumper at the 11:31 mark. The Boxers cut the advantage to five on Mitch Wettig's (Fr., Bend, Ore.) mid-range jumper with 10:25 to go, but Lasisi's trey on the next possession started a string of 9 of 13 made for the Pirates to close the half. The Boxers made just two shots during the same stretch.
Mack Larkin's three-pointer made it a 45-24 lead with 2:19 left and Jack Loffburrow's trey with 25 seconds left allowed the Pirates a commanding 48-25 lead at halftime. Whitworth spread the offensive wealth with eight of the nine players who entered the game scoring. Four players connected for three-pointers. Whitworth also succeeded in converting eight Pacific turnovers into 14 points.
Whitworth kept their foot on the gas in the second half, outscoring the Boxers 11-4 over the first seven minutes of the period. Loofburrow's jumper with 13:15 to go gave Whitworth their biggest lead of the game at 30 points, 59-29, with 13:15 to go. Pacific did their part to play a competitive second half, but were unable to come any closer than 19 points the rest of the way. Berney got the Boxers the closest, hitting a lay-in with 7:32 left to bring the lead within 62-43.
Pacific plays its final road game on Friday at Pacific Lutheran before closing the 2011-12 season at home on Saturday against Lewis & Clark. Both games tip-off at 8 p.m. and will be aired via live webcast at www.goboxers.com/webcasts. Whitworth is at Whitman on Tuesday before concluding the regular season at home on Saturday against Willamette.
Whitworth Sails Past Boxers To Claim Third Straight NWC Crown
|Whitworth (20-3, 13-1 NWC)||48||28||76|
|Pacific (9-14, 3-11 NWC)||25||29||54|