Whitworth Men Hold Off Puget Sound

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SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth University parlayed a strong defensive first half into a strong offensive second period to hold off visiting Puget Sound 92-80 in a Northwest Conference men's basketball game on Saturday night. 

Ben College and Garrett Hull combined for 56 points for the 14th-ranked Pirates (8-3, 2-0 NWC).

After the Loggers (6-5, 0-2) grabbed an early 5-2 lead, Whitworth went on a 10-0 run to go ahead 12-5 on Reed Brown's jumper.  The Pirates would never trail again.  Whitworth was leading 27-20 when the Bucs used a 10-2 spurt to grab a 15-point advantage with 2:20 left in the opening half.  Garrett Paxton scored the first six of those ten points as the Pirates took a 40-27 lead into the locker rooms.

Whitworth held Puget Sound to only 37% shooting in the first half and did not allow Stellan Roberts and Cal Hensen, the Loggers' leading scorers, a single point between them in the opening 20 minutes.

"I think we executed with the energy on defense that we've wanted from the start of the season," said Whitworth head coach Damion Jablonski.  "We were able to grab a lead by locking down on a couple of their best players."

The Pirates were effective offensively in the first half, but took off in the opening eight minutes of the second period.  Whitworth made 14 of its first 16 shot attempts to stretch its lead to 60-38.  Hull scored eight points over the first five minutes of the half.  The Pirates' lead hovered between 17-20 points for most of the rest of the game until Puget Sound made a late run.  John Misel's three-pointer got the Loggers within 86-78, but less than a minute was left in the game at that point.

College led all scorers with 30 points, hitting 12 of 16 from the field, including 3-5 from three-point range.  Hull surpassed his previous career high with 26 points.  He added team-highs of eight rebounds and four assists.

"I've been hoping we could get a second scorer step up to support Ben," Jablonski said.  "Tonight we saw Garrett play like he's capable of offensively, in addition to the other intangible parts of his game."

Reed Brown added 12 points and Sam Lees had ten for the Pirates, who finished the game shooting 58% (35-60) from the floor. 

After getting shut out in the first half, Roberts scored 17 in the second period and Hansen had a dozen points after the break.  Hansen also led his team with eight rebounds. 

Whitworth will continue a four-game homestand by hosting Willamette and Lewis & Clark next Friday and Saturday.