SPOKANE, Wash. – Ben College scored the final six points of the game for Whitworth to help the 14th-ranked Pirates hold off Mary Washington 78-73 on Monday night in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Whitworth improves to 6-1 while the Eagles fall to 7-3 after the first of a three-game trip to the Northwest.
College led the Bucs with 28 points, helping Whitworth offset a 32-point night by UMW's Greg Rowson.
Both teams played tough defense. The Pirates held the visiting Eagles to 39.4% (26-66) from the field, including 10% (3-30) from three-point range. Whitworth was able to make a slightly higher percentage. The Bucs hit 41.7% (25-60) from the floor and 29.2% (7-24) from beyond the arc.
After the Eagles jumped to a 13-6 lead on a Rowson basket eight minutes into the first half, UMW went cold. Whitworth held the Eagles scoreless for the next 12 minutes and used a 14-0 scoring run to grab a 20-13 lead. Liam Fitzgerald hit two three-pointers during that run. The Pirates took their largest lead of the game (31-22) on a College jumper before UMW rallied to within 33-29 at the halftime break.
The second half was a classic slugfest with eight ties and four lead changes. The Eagles opened the half on a 10-3 run to grab a 39-36 advantage after Trey Barber's three-pointer. Mary Washington still led 49-46 when the Pirates went on a 10-0 run, capped by Rowan Anderson's three-pointer, to go ahead 56-49. The Bucs held a 62-56 lead when the Eagles fought back to tie the score 66-66 on Drew Johnson's basket. Rowson's free throws tied the score a final time at 70-70 with just under two minutes to play. After Anderson made a pair of free throws to give the Bucs the lead, Whitworth got the key defensive stop when Rowson was called for an offensive foul. College followed with a layup with one minute to go. He also went 4-4 at the free throw line in the final 15 seconds to seal the win.
College scored 19 of his 28 points after halftime. He struggled from three point range (2-7), but went 10-10 at the free throw line and converted a pair of three-point plays. Anderson came off the bench for 11 points for the Pirates. Anderson, Sam Lees and JT McDermott all led Whitworth with eight rebounds apiece, giving the Bucs a 40-35 advantage on the boards.
Rowson made 10-18 from the field and 12-13 at the line to account for his 32 points. Johnson added ten points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles.
Whitworth will return to action on December 28-29 when the Bucs compete at the E.M. "Mose" Hole Classic at Wooster College (Ohio) with games against John Carroll and 24th-ranked Wooster.