Men’s Basketball Falls to Whitworth

Cole Anderson

In the first meeting for the Whitman men’s basketball team with Whitworth University, the rivalry upheld its growing reputation as one of the most exciting in Division III sports. In what seems to be a trend between these two teams, the last few plays of the game on Tuesday, Jan. 21 decided its result, an 84-80 loss for the Missionaries. With the loss Whitman drops to 5-2 and third in the Northwest Conference.

Accuracy beyond the arc made the difference in this game. The Pirates accurately attacked from the outside at the start of the game. Whitworth’s first four shots from three-point range all found the basket, and finding an answer to their accuracy proved a tough task for the Missionaries. However, pinpoint shooting from sophomore wing Phil Chircu in the first half and unrelenting rebounding on both ends from sophomore forward Evan Martin gave the Missionaries a 49-44 lead going into the second half.

With the beginning of the second half came a revived and inspired Whitman defense, which forced the Pirates to make a few careless plays. Sophomore guard Tochi Oti also hit his first two attempts to extend the Missionary lead. During the half, the score remained close, but a string of Whitworth three-pointers and unfortunate offensive possessions for the Missionaries allowed the Pirates to take the lead.

With 24 points amassed from beyond the arc and an impressive 72.7 percent accuracy from the three-point range in the second half alone, the Pirates were able to hold off a strong and consistent Missionary offense. And when a three-point attempt with less than 10 seconds failed to go through for the Missionaries, who were down by two at the time, the Pirates were able to seal up the victory.

The men have three upcoming home games in a row, and they are seeking to reposition themselves atop the NWC. The next game is on Friday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. in the Sherwood Athletic Center.