Jurlina Scores 29 Points off the Bench to Lead Whitworth over Bearcats

Brown of Willamette Earns a Career-High 21 Points

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Christian Jurlina scored a career-high 29 points off the bench to lead Whitworth University to an 87-58 victory over Willamette University on Friday, Jan. 31 at the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Jurlina scored 20 points in the first half, as the Pirates took a 36-28 lead.

Whitworth advanced to 14-4, including an 8-1 record (1st place) in the Northwest Conference. Willamette slipped to 3-15 overall, 1-8 in the NWC.

Alex Brown (Jr., F, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) provided a career-high 21 points for the Bearcats. It was his 11th game in double figures this season.

Overall, Whitworth achieved a 58-18 advantage in bench scoring. Jurlina tallied nine points in the second half to complete his career night, while Kionte Brown scored 11 points in the final 10:28. They were the only players to reach double-digit scoring for the Pirates, although 12 Whitworth players scored at least two points.

Willamette's starters outscored Whitworth's starters 40-29, but couldn't overcome Jurlina's performance and a run by the Pirates in the second half.

The game began with Willamette scoring the first six points on two baskets by Kyle McNally (Jr., F, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) and one by Brandon Luedtke (So., F, Meridian, ID/Mt. View HS). The Pirates retaliated with an 11-0 run that included five points by Taylor Farnsworth. Whitworth held an 11-6 lead with 13:19 left in the half.

Willamette achieved the next four points to start a 10-2 run, as the Bearcats claimed a 16-13 lead with 10:09 on the clock. Joseph Jackson (Jr., Wing, Hillsboro, OR/Hillsboro HS) opened the run with a layup, while McNally and Brown alternated the remaining four baskets, with McNally scoring on layups and Brown adding jumpers.

A bit later, Luedtke scored to give Willamette a 20-17 edge at the 8:35 mark. Whitworth countered by using a 6-0 run to surge in front, 23-20. The Bearcats pulled within a single point on a layup by Jake Stevens (Fr., F, Eagle, ID/Eagle HS), but the Pirates amassed nine of the next 11 points for a 32-24 lead with 3:48 remaining.

Avery Manu (Sr., Wing, Pocatello, ID/Highland HS) cut the lead to six points, 34-28, when he put in a layup just over a minute later. Neither team scored again until Dustin McConnell made a layup for Whitworth with three seconds to go in the half.

Brown of Willamette opened the second half with a successful jump shot, but the Bearcats were unable to put together a run. The Pirates -- spurred on by a 3-pointer from Robby Douglas just 17 seconds after Brown scored -- gained momentum with seven consecutive points for a 43-30 lead.

The Bearcats pulled within 45-35 on a 3-point shot by Brown with 15:49 left. Whitworth scored 20 unanswered points over the ensuing six minutes to pull away.

Following Jurlina and Kionte Brown on the Whitworth scoring chart were Farnsworth with nine points and Dustin McConnell with eight. Kenny Love grabbed a team-high five rebounds to help the Pirates achieve a 37-25 advantage on the glass.

In addition to Alex Brown's career-high performance, the Bearcats received eight points and three steals from McNally. Luedtke contributed seven points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Willamette shot exactly 50% for the game (23 of 46), but hit only 2 of 13 three-pointers (15.4%) and made 10 of 18 free throws (55.6%). Whitworth connected on 46.8% of its shots (29 of 52), including 7 of 24 from 3-point range (29.2%). The Pirates were 22 of 27 (81.5%) at the free throw line.

Whitworth committed just nine turnovers during the game and lost the ball just three times in the second half. The Pirates forced 19 turnovers by Willamette.

The Bearcats will remain on the road to battle Whitman College on Saturday, Feb. 1. Game time in Walla Walla, Wash., is set for 8 p.m. (PST). When the teams met at Willamette on Jan. 3, the Missionaries rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half to edge the Bearcats, 65-59.

BOX SCORE

Whitworth University 87
Willamette University 58

Alex Brown of Willamette scored a career-high 21 points against Whitworth. He hit 8 of 14 field goal attempts and made 4 of 4 free throws.

Alex Brown of Willamette scored a career-high 21 points against Whitworth. He hit 8 of 14 field goal attempts and made 4 of 4 free throws.