When you have seven-time defending Northwest Conference men’s basketball champion Whitworth down big at home in Spokane, you have to find a way to finish the job.
The Puget Sound Loggers couldn’t.
The eighth-ranked Pirates made a living at the free-throw line, and recovered for a 77-65 victory Friday night at Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Whitworth (12-2, 3-2 in NWC) made 29 of 37 free throws, including a 9-of-10 effort in the final 2:06 to close out UPS (9-5, 2-3), which shot just 12 free throws.
Kyle Roach led the Pirates with 22 points. Kenny Love added 21. Jimmy Wohrer paced UPS with 19 points, including five 3-pointers.
UPS held the Pirates scoreless for nearly six minutes to take a 17-9 lead.
A four-point possession, aided by a technical foul on the Whitworth bench, extended the Loggers’ advantage to 30-15 advantage four minutes later. It would be UPS’s largest lead of the game.
“I don’t think (Whitworth) came out with a lot of urgency, but they had a nice little run to end the first half,” UPS coach Justin Lunt said. “And they kept the run going. We cannot turn the ball over like that. And we cannot foul.”
Nick Benjamin’s layup broke a 52-52 tie with 8:33 to go, giving the Pirates the lead for good.
At No. 2 Whitman 87, Pacific Lutheran 71: A 8-0 Missionaries run early in the second half broke open a close game, and kept Whitman (14-0, 5-0) undefeated in Walla Walla.
Jason Kirkley tallied six points during the span to extend Whitman’s lead to 63-51 with 13:14 remaining.
Tim Howell led the Missionaries with 21 points on 9-for-17 shooting. Jared Christy led the Lutes with 19 points and 17 rebounds.
Whitman avenged a pair of home losses to the Lutes (7-7. 2-3) last season.
No. 18 UPS 78, at Whitworth 71: Elizabeth Prewitt’s layup with 2:19 to go gave the Loggers the lead for good as UPS ended the game on an 11-5 run to defeat the Pirates in Spokane.
Samone Jackson and Sumner product Jamie Lange led UPS with 18 points apiece. Lange did her damage off the bench, making seven of 10 field goals from the floor.
Prewitt’s bucket gave the Loggers (13-1, 5-0 in NWC) a 67-66 lead, sparking a 6-0 run.
At No. 16 Whitman 88, PLU 41: Casey Poe scored all 13 of her points in the first quarter to get the Missionaries rolling at home in Walla Walla.
The win game longtime coach Michelle Ferenz her 250th career victory.
Poe made all five of her field goal attempts in that quarter, including three 3-pointers to give Whitman (15-0, 5-0) a 19-9 lead.
The Lutes (1-13, 0-5) were led by Lacey Nicholson’s 10 points.