Whitworth Men Advance to NWC Championship - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Whitworth Men Advance to NWC Championship

Christian Jurlina scores a game-high 23 points to help Whitworth advance to the NWC Championship game. Christian Jurlina scores a game-high 23 points to help Whitworth advance to the NWC Championship game.
by Whitworth University Sports Information

SPOKANE, Wash. – Christian Jurlina and Colton McCargar combined for 45 points to lead 15th-ranked Whitworth to an 87-62 win over visiting Lewis & Clark in the semifinals of the 2014 NWC men’s basketball tournament on Thursday night.

The Pirates improved to 21-5 and will host the NWC tournament championship on Saturday night at 7:00 pm against Puget Sound. The Loggers kncoked of No. 2 seed Whitman 71-66 to face Whitworth. This will be the second time in three seasons that UPS and the Pirates will meet in the NWC Tournament Championship game.

Whitworth shot 57% from the field in the game, led by the two high scorers. Jurlina scored 23 points off of the bench, making 10 of 15 from the field, while McCargar had 22 points while making 8-14 from the floor.

Whitworth jumped to an early 9-4 lead on a short jumper by Taylor Farnsworth, but the Pioneers rallied to take an 11-9 lead on a three-pointer by Serg Ovchinnikov with 13:59 to play in the first half. It would be Lewis & Clark’s only lead of the game. Whitworth scored the next six, capped by Jurlina’s three-point play, to retake control. The Pirates still only led 16-14 following Kurt Parker’s layup with just over ten minutes left in the half, but used a quick 9-0 run to open their first double digit lead (25-14) on McCargar’s three-pointer. A Jurlina three-pointer gave Whitworth its largest lead of the opening half (43-29) before L&C closed to within 45-34 at halftime.

Jason Luhnow’s three-pointer highlighted a 6-0 run for L&C to start the second half, pulling the Pioneers within 45-40. But Whitworth answered with a 7-0 streak of its own to go back ahead 52-40. L&C had one more surge, pulling within 52-48 on Randall Jackson’s basket with 13:51 to go. But George Valle answered at the other end for the Pirates, sparking a 15-4 spurt that gave Whitworth a 67-52 lead with under ten minutes to play. The Pioneers never cut the margin below double digits after that.

The statistic of the game was turnovers. Whitworth committed a season-low three turnovers against L&C’s pressure defense, while forcing 15 giveaways from the Pioneers.

Dustin McConnell, who was voted by conference coaches as the NWC Player of the Year earlier this week, finished with 15 points and eight assists. Valle scored ten points to give the Bucs their fourth player in double figures. Farnsworth led Whitworth with six rebounds as the Pirates finished with a slight edge on the boards (26-25).

Lewis & Clark finishes the season with a record of 17-9. Parker and Ovchinnikov led the Pioneers with 14 and 13 points off of the bench, respectively. Bradley Carter and Quintin Sims scored ten points apiece and Connor Freeberg led all players with eight rebounds. L&C made 54% of its shots in the first half, but only 43% after halftime to finish 49% from the field overall.

Thursday’s game marked the third straight year, and fourth time in the last five seasons, that Whitworth and Lewis & Clark have met in the NWC tournament semifinals. Whitworth has won all four contests.

The Pirates look to secure their eighth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III tournament if they can win Saturday night’s NWC tournament championship game.

  • College

    • No. 6 Gonzaga earns WCC title with 79-65 win over BYU

      Needing a win to secure an outright conference title, the Gonzaga Bulldogs raced out to a lead and never looked back Saturday on the road at BYU. The Bulldogs topped the Cougars 79-65 in front of 18,987 fans at the Marriott Center.  Johnathan Williams scored 16 points while Zach Norvell Jr. added 15 points and five rebounds for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs finish the regular season at 27-4 overall and 17-1 in West Coast Conference play. They have now ...

    • Photo: Idaho Athletics

      Vandals bounce back with big win at Weber State

      Without one of their veterans, the Vandals needed somebody to step up on Saturday night.  Instead, everybody did, as Idaho took the 68-62 win over Weber State on the road to get win number 20 on the season.

    • Bliznyuk reaches 2,000 points in Eagles' win at ISU

      Senior Bogdan Bliznyuk went over the 2,000-point mark in his career and finished with a game-high 17, but three other Eagles scored in double figures as the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team beat Idaho State 74-69 in a Big Sky Conference game Saturday (Feb. 24) in Pocatello.

    • Whitworth Athletics

      Roach, Whitworth stun Whitman 91-88 in NWC tournament championship

      WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Kyle Roach's three-pointer as time expired lifted visiting Whitworth University to a stunning 91-88 win over top-ranked Whitman College in the championship of the Northwest Conference men's basketball tournament on Saturday night in Whitman's Sherwood Center. Roach, the 2018 NWC Player of the Year, hit his shot over a defender from about 27 feet to lift the 4th-ranked Pirates to 24-3 and hand the Bucs the NWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournam...
    • (Photo: Robert Hubner)

      Cougars Can't Complete Comeback at Stanford

      For the second game in a row it came down to the final seconds for Washington State, but this time it didn’t go the Cougars way. Stanford Freshman Daejon Davis hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds to play, sealing an 86-84 win for Stanford over Washington State on Saturday. Robert Franks scored 19 points to lead the Cougars, who fall to 11-17 overall and 3-13 in conference play. Malachi Flynn and Drick Bernstine each added 16 points, a season...
    • EWU Comes from Behind to Top Idaho State on Senior Day

      CHENEY, Wash. – It was a Senior Day that Mariah Cunningham and Delaney Hodgins likely won't forget at Reese Court. The Eastern Washington women's basketball team was down 60-44 with 7:37 remaining when they exploded on a 22-4 run in the fourth quarter to pick up a crucial Big Sky Conference victory over Idaho State, 66-44.   "The biggest thing is momentum. We are really trying to play good basketball this time of year. Going into Reno, we want to be p...