Nationally Ranked Whitworth Pulls Away from Willamette, 93-65

Mounts and Malley Lead Bearcats with 15 Points Each

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Whitworth University, ranked #10 in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll, played a strong second half to extend a 40-32 halftime lead into a 93-65 victory over Willamette University at the Whitworth Fieldhouse on Saturday, Feb. 18. Whitworth improved to 22-3 overall, 15-1 in the Northwest Conference.

The Pirates won the NWC regular season title and will be the top seed for the 4-team NWC Tournament, set for Feb. 23 and Feb. 25. Willamette concluded its season at 5-20 overall, 3-13 in the NWC.

Whitworth was playing its first game since Tuesday, when the Pirates defeated Whitman College, 81-74, in Walla Walla, Wash. Willamette was playing its second game in as many nights after facing Whitman in Walla Walla on Friday.

Felix Friedt toped Whitworth with 29 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in Saturday's game. Jack Loofburrow added 18 points for the Pirates, while Idris Lasisi and Dustin McConnell each tallied 12 points. Lasisi also hauled down eight rebounds, while McConnell dished out five assists. Mack Larkin contributed 10 points.

Willamette was led by Taylor Mounts (Sr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) and Terrell Malley (Jr., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) with 15 points each. Mounts also paced the Bearcats with nine boards to finish his career with 1,298 points and 580 rebounds.

Ryan Meehan (Sr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) finished with 11 points for the Bearcats. He was 4 of 7 from the floor, including 2 of 4 on 3-point shots.

The first five minutes featured two ties and four lead changes, as the teams combined for 24 points with Whitworth holding a 13-11 lead. The Pirates held a 16-11 advantage after McConnell hit a 3-pointer with 14:30 left in the half and also led by five points, 18-13, following a layup by Lasisi with 12:18 to go.

Two free throws by Mounts and a 3-pointer by Noah Ripley (So., Post, Springfield, OR/Springfield HS) tied the game for Willamette, 18-18, at the 10:46 mark. Whitworth quickly moved out to a 25-18 advantage by scoring seven points in the next 1:35. Lasisi opened the run with a layup, before Loofburrow followed with a 3-pointer plus another layup.

The scoring margin continued to swing back-and-forth between two and eight points. Whitworth's lead was just 33-30 after a jumper by Meehan with 2:23 remaining in the half, but the Pirates closed the stanza with a 7-2 run.

Friedt scored 11 of his points in the first half to go with six boards and four assists. For Willamette, Meehan had tallied eight points and was 3 for 4 from the field during the first 20 minutes.

Both teams scored eight points in the first 2:27 of the second half, leaving Whitworth with a 48-40 lead. The Pirates doubled their advantage with a 10-2 run. McConnell finished the run with a 3-point basket for a 58-42 margin with 14:12 remaining.

Willamette received a 3-pointer from Derek Newhof (Fr., G, Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS) and a layup from Alex Brown (Fr., Wing/Post, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) to pull within 58-47 at the 12:30 mark. The Bearcats got as close as 11 points three more times, including 65-54 after two free throws by Malley with 10:15 left.

The Pirates gradually increased their lead during the remainder of the game. They shot 57.6% (19 of 33) in the second half to end the night at 52.9% overall (36 of 68). After hitting just 4 of 16 three-pointers in the first half, the Pirates sank 5 of 12 trifectas (41.7%) in the second half. During the game, Whitworth was 12 of 16 at the free throw line.

Willamette shot 39.9% (23 of 59) for the game, including 35.5% in the second half (11 of 31). The Bearcats converted just 6 of 23 three-pointers (26.1%) and made 13 of 21 free throws (61.9%).

Both teams maintained solid possession of the ball, as Willamette finished with 11 turnovers and Whitworth lost the ball just nine times. Friedt's mastery of the glass helped Whitworth gain a 45-29 rebounding advantage and a 17-2 edge in second-chance points.

BOX SCORE

Whitworth University 93
Willamette University 65

Terrell Malley scored 15 points against the 10th-ranked Pirates.

Terrell Malley scored 15 points against the 10th-ranked Pirates.