SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth University bounced back from its first loss of the season with a dominating defense performance in Saturday night's 84-57 win over visiting Pacific University on Saturday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The top-ranked Pirates (20-1 overall, 11-1 NWC), who suffered their first loss of the season on Tuesday night at Whitman, forced 22 turnovers while holding the Boxers t 38.6% shooting from the field.
"Our guys were hungry to get back out there after Tuesday," said Whitworth head coach Matt Logie. "We definitely grew as a team this week and we learned where we needed to improve. I was really pleased with the energy, especially in the second half."
Pacific (10-11 overall, 4-8 NWC) led only once in the game, after taking a 2-0 lead. The Pirates answered with an 8-0 run and never trailed again. Whitworth took a 28-20 lead late in the first half on Christian Jurlina's jumper, but the Boxers were still within 32-26 at halftime.
The second half was all Pirates. Led by strong post play from Drew Sears, Whitworth shot 55% from the floor and outscored Pacific 52-31. George Valle's three-pointer gave the Bucs their first double digit lead (38-28) less than three minutes into the period and his layup six minutes later increased the advantage to 56-35. Whitworth never led by less than 20 points the rest of the way and led by as many as 31 points late in the contest.
Sears led the Pirates with 17 points while Valle finished with 14. Kenny Love and Kyle Roach each scored a dozen points as Whitworth got strong contributions from outside of the top three scorers – Valle, Jurlina and Love.
"It speaks to our depth and well-roundedness," Logie said. "Guys like Sears, Roach and Ben Bishop are coming on strong."
The Pirates finished the game 30-60 (50%) from the floor and 18-21 (85.7%) from the free throw line. Whitworth scored 31 of its points off of Boxer turnovers.
K.C. Harrison led Pacific with 14 points while DeVon Pouncy came off of the bench for 11 points. Bobby Ahern scored all ten of his points in the first half. The Boxers held a 39-30 edge in rebounding.
Whitworth will return to action next Friday night when George Fox University visits the Fieldhouse.