Lester leads Pirates past Pacific

Lester leads Pirates past Pacific

Jordan Lester led five teammates in double figures with 21 points as visiting Whitworth defeated Pacific University 116-107 in a Northwest Conference men’s basketball game on Friday night.

The final score was not quite indicative of the 5 th -ranked Pirates’ domination in this game. Whitworth (16-2 overall, 8-1 NWC) opened a 25-point lead in the first half and led by as many as 28 points (93-65) halfway through the second before head coach Matt Logie went liberally to his bench. Pacific fell to 8-10, 2-7 despite playing starters until the final whistle.

Lester’s night highlighted another efficient offensive performance for Whitworth. The Bucs made 60% (39-65) of their shots from the field and 84% (31-37) of their free throws. Whitworth finished with a 41-35 edge in rebounding, led by nine boards apiece by Lester and Jared Christy.

Isaiah Hernandez added 16 points to highlight a strong effort by Whitworth’s bench. Fourteen of the 15 Pirates to play in the game scored at least two points. Forty-nine of the Pirates’ points came from the reserve players.

Pacific grabbed an early 6-2 lead after three-pointers by Marcus Wallace and Chris Kokayashi. Whitworth answered with a 17-2 run, going up 19-8 on Jared Christy’s jumper in the paint. After the Boxers got back within 29-22 halfway through the first period, the Pirates eventually stretched their lead to 52-27 over the next five minutes. Ben Bishop scored all 12 of his points in the first half and gave Whitworth its 25-point lead with a dunk. The Boxers were able to battle back to within 59-44 at halftime, however, as the Pirates went a little cold down the stretch after making 10 of their first 11 baskets.

Pacific closed to within 62-50 early in the second half on a Davis Holly layup before Whitworth took control for good with an 18-6 spurt, capped by Lester’s three-pointer. When Isaiah Hernandez drained another three-pointer with just under ten minutes to play, the Pirates had taken their largest lead of the game (93-65). Whitworth led 98-72 with seven and a half minutes to play when Logie went to his bench.

The Pirates subs continued to play well most of the rest of the way, holding a 112-90 lead after Garrett Paxton’s basket with 2:27 left. Holly’s three-pointer just before the buzzer was the final basket of the game for the Boxers, cutting the final margin below double digits and capping a late 17-4 run for Pacific.

Christy added 14 points, Kyle Roach scored 11 and Liam Fitzgerald established a career-high with ten points off the bench to account for the six Pirate players in double figures.

Gage Shelmidine led Pacific with 23 points while Marcus Wallace, the league scoring leader (21.5 ppg), scored 22. Holly totaled 17 and Andy Isokpehi tallied 13.

Whitworth swept the season series from Pacific, combining for 239 points in the two victories. The Pirates will complete the weekend trip to Oregon on Saturday at Willamette.