Colton McCargar scored a career-high 26 points to lead 6th-ranked Whitworth to an 86-67 win over Emory University in the second round of the NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The Eagles finish the season 20-7 after claiming a share of the University Athletic Association championship and their first NCAA tournament victory since 1990 with last Saturday's win over Randolph.
Whitworth never trailed and the game was tied only once when Michael Friedberg scored a put-back basket for Emory 90 seconds into the game. But Mack Larkin answered with a three-pointer for the Pirates and Taylor Farnsworth scored inside to give the Bucs a 7-2 lead. When McCargar hit the first of his six three-pointers, Whitworth had taken a 17-6 lead seven minutes into the game.
The Pirates stretched the first half lead to 31-12 on another McCargar three with just under eight minutes to go. But Emory was able to fight back to within 42-30 at halftime. Jake Davis hit 6-10 from the field and had 14 points at the break for the Eagles.
Whitworth kept Emory from extending the momentum into the early moments of the second half when Dustin McConnell and Wade Gebbers sandwiched three-pointers around a basket by Eagle guard McPherson Moore for a 48-32 lead. Zach Payne's basket gave the Pirates a 54-33 lead just under five minutes into the second half.
Emory had one final run, pulling to within 65-53 on a three-pointer by Alex Greven and then to within 71-61 when Davis scored inside. But McCargar was fouled at the other end and an ensuing technical on Davis, his second of the game, led to four straight McCargar free throws and Davis had to leave the floor with under five minutes to play. Whitworth was then able to stretch the lead from that point, going ahead 86-63 on two more McConnell free throws with just over two minutes left.
Emory's pressing defense was able to force 19 Whitworth turnovers, but the Pirates were also able to effectively break the pressure for easy baskets. Whitworth made 53% (25-47) from the field and 52.6% (10-19) from three-point range. The Eagles finished the game 45% (25-56) from the floor and only 18% (2-11) from beyond the arc.
Only one week after posting his previous career-high of 21 in a first round win over Redlands, McCargar made 10-14 from the floor and 6-9 from three-point range for his 26 points.
McConnell addd 17 points while Larkin finished with 12 points and a team-high six rebounds. Gebbers scored 11 and dished four assists and George Valle totaled 10 points.
Davis ended the game with 22 points for Emory. Greven had 16, 12 of which came in the second half. Michael Florin had nine points and eight assists.
Whitworth will face its second rematch from the regular season when the Bucs face Mary Hardin-Baylor in next week's third round game. Whitworth defeated the Crusaders 70-61 for their first win of the season on November 24th.
The Pirates have reached the Division III sweet 16 for the fifth time in school history.