Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
TACOMA, Wash. - The Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball squad battled its second nationally-ranked opponent in as many days on Saturday evening, going toe-to-toe with 13th-ranked Whitworth University for a majority of the contest before eventually succumbing 88-70 in a Northwest Conference clash inside Olson Gymnasium.
The two teams traded leads for the opening three minutes before the visiting Pirates (7-0, 2-0 NWC) built up a nine-point advantage midway through the first half. The Lutes (3-4, 0-2 NWC) whittled the gap to just a possession on a pair of Markus Glenn free throws with 7:36 remaining in the first stanza before Whitworth tallied the next nine points to stake a double-digit buffer. Pacific Lutheran closed the gap and trailed by just seven at the halftime intermission thanks to a late three from Kyle James.
Pacific Lutheran trailed by just eight with 5:42 remaining in the game before the Pirates took control over the next five minutes, scoring 20 of the next 28 points to cement the win and remain undefeated on the season.
"We were really pleased with the way we responded from last night's performance," said Head Coach Chad Murray. "We showed some fight and really played with a better sense of urgency. That speaks to the character of this team."
Three Lutes ended the night in double figures with Dylan Foreman leading the way with 16 points and six rebounds. Leighton Kingma added 13 points and three blocks while Shay Curcuruto came off the bench and chipped in a baker's dozen.
"Dylan showed some great leadership and played great right from the tip. With inexperience comes inconsistency, so each night we sort of wonder who is going to step up and I thought Shay did some nice things and really everyone on our bench did something positive to help us."
Whitworth had three players in double figures with Ben College leading the way with a 29-point performance, hitting 11 of 18 field goal attempts, including canning six treys.
PLU enjoyed a 31-16 edge in bench points but was outmuscled on the boards with the Pirates owning a 47-26 rebounding advantage.
The Lutes have little time to rest, heading up I-5 on Monday to face Division I Seattle University in a exhibition game. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.