Kyle Roach poured in a career-high 39 points to lead 5th-ranked Whitworth to a 76-70 win at Lewis & Clark College on Saturday night at the Pamplin Center.
Roach, who also became the 28th player in Whitworth men's basketball history to surpass 1,000 career points during the win, helped the Pirates improve to 19-2 overall and 11-1 in the Northwest Conference. Roach was able to outduel Andrew Vickers, scored 29 points for the Pioneers (7-14, 3-9 NWC).
L&C led briefly early in the game, taking an 8-4 lead on a pair of free throws from Vickers. Whitworth answered with a 13-0 run, including six points by Roach and a three-pointer from Garrett Hull. The Pirates increased the lead to 41-31 on two Roach free throws late in the half before taking a 42-33 lead into halftime.
The Bucs quickly stretched the lead to 48-33 early in the second on a jumper by Sam Lees and led 53-37 with 14:27 to go after another Hull three-pointer. Much like they did in the first meeting between the schools in early January, the Pioneers began to chip away. When Zeke Crawford hit a short jumper, L&C had pulled within 63-58 with 6:28 to go. After Vickers got the Pioneers within 68-64 with a three-pointer, Ben College answered with a three at the other end for the Pirates. L&C never got as close as four points again.
Roach made 14 of his 22 shots from the field and went 11-12 from the free throw line. He surpassed his previous career high of 32 points set last month in a win over George Fox. He now has 1,007 points in his Pirate career.
Hull added 11 points while Jared Christy scored ten for Whitworth. The Pirates shot 53% (29-55) from the field. Whitworth also outrebounded L&C 38-24 as Hull posted his first career double-double with 11 boards.
Vickers was the only Pioneer player in double figures. He went 9-13 from the floor and 4-6 from three-point range. He was also 7-8 at the free throw line. L&C shot only 37% in the first half, but improved to 50% in the second period.
Whitworth swept the season series with L&C and the Bucs have won the last ten contests between the schools. Roach, who scored 28 in the first win of the season over the Pioneers, scored 67 points in two games against L&C this season.
Tonight's win sets up a showdown with top-ranked Whitman College on Tuesday night. The Pirates trail the Blues by one game in the NWC standings.
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