TACOMA, Wash. – A battle of nationally-ranked teams for an early lead in the Northwest Conference standings ended in a 80-67 loss for the No. 16 Puget Sound men's basketball team. The Loggers (11-2, 3-1 NWC) fell to 11th-ranked Whitworth in a game that went back and forth.
Both teams came out on fire in the first half with both the Loggers and Pirates (11-2, 4-0 NWC) shooting over 50 percent. The two heavyweight teams traded blow after blow throughout the game as the lead changed hands seven times.
"I wanted our mentality be more about getting stops, but it was more like matching their buckets (in the first half)," said head coach Justin Lunt. "I thought our tempo was good offensively and defensively but I thought our defense could have been more solid."
Derek Jobe and Ryan Roger opened the game with hot hands for the Loggers as both hit a pair of three-pointers in the opening half to help the Loggers to a 41-38 halftime lead. Edric Egberaure gave the Loggers their biggest lead of the night at the 14:14 mark of the second half when his jumper put them up 51-46.
"Our execution offensively was the big part," added Lunt about building a lead in the second half. "We hit some shots, moved the ball and shared the ball well."
However, Wade Gebbers stepped up and hit a three for the Pirates to close the gap to 51-46 less than a minute later. Gebbers finished with 15 points, all coming on three-pointers. With 8:54 left, the Pirates claimed their first lead of the second half and held it for the remainder of the game.
Five Loggers finished in double digits led by Julian Fernandez with 11 points. Jobe finished with 10 points as did Rex Holmes, Riggs Yarbro and Kaleb Shelton-Johnson. Shelton- Johnson now has 998 career points.
Felix Freidt and Idris Lasisi led all scorers with 21 points each to lead the Pirates. Friedt also brought down 11 rebounds.
The Loggers head across town to PLU on Tuesday for an 8 p.m. rivalry game.