Pirates launch 3-point attack on Tech

Whitworth shot the ball from long distance until its arms got tired. Then, the Pirates brought in more shooters from the bench and drained from afar some more.

The 14th-ranked squad used the 3-point basket to best Montana Tech 90-75 in non-conference college men’s basketball Wednesday night. The game was played in the Montana Tech HPER Complex.

Even Oredigger head coach Aaron Woliczko sounded amazed.

“I think the biggest thing was that they shot the ball very, very well,” the coach said. “We made adjustments at halftime and they shot it even better in the second half.”

Whitworth meshed a red-hot 16 of 27 attempts from trey-land for a 59 percent make rate. The Pirates were 9-for-16 by halftime while constructing a 47-36 lead. The Pirates finished the game with 90 points while shooting only nine free throws. They made 60 percent of their attempts, overall, from the floor.

Four players notched double figures in points for Whitworth. Freshman George Valle led with 23 points while Dustin McConnell hit for 15, and Mack Larkin and Colton McCargar netted a dozen points apiece.

Montana Tech also had four scorers in double digits. Adam Greger tallied 17 points, Travis Peevey scored 16, Bryan Bock 12 and Brandon Rydberg 10. The Orediggers were 52 percent from the field, also a good ratio.

“The best thing they do is shoot it,” Woliczko said of the Pirates. “We stuck to some shooters, but you can’t stick to all of them when they’re playing that well.”

The long shots were set up by a series of passes while screens held off defenders. The string of passes allowed the shooters to eventually come open as Orediggers chased the ball, falling a little farther behind the action with each relay.

Montana Tech found itself in a 25-16 deficit in the first eight minutes of the game and was forced to play catchup the rest of the way, unveiling the trey attack itself in attempts to make up points in a hurry.

“We shot more 3s tonight than in most of our other games,” Woliczko said. “I hope we don’t have to shoot 19 threes to win games.”

The Orediggers pulled to within 30-24 as Greger dominated on the inside, but was unable to get any closer to the lead. The accurate barrage from the Pirates was too much offense for NAIA’s top 3-point shooting defense to combat.

By halftime the score was 47-36 and Whitworth maintained a comfortable distance through the rest of the game.

The Orediggers’ best run after halftime included three 3-point baskets in a row from the corner by Peevey.

“We got it down to Peevey in the corner and (the Pirates) had matchup problems at that point in the game,” Woliczko said. “We were able to make the extra pass to Peevey. The rest of the game the ball was sticking in our hands (not getting to the extra pass).”

One of the other shooters Whitworth used was Austin Ehlo, who came off the bench and scored six points. His father, Craig, was a standout at Washington State before becoming a longtime shooting star in the NBA.

The win put the Pirates at 2-1 while Montana Tech fell to 5-3 and will be home against Willamette on Friday.

Mack Larkin 4-7 0-0 12, Dustin McConnell 6-10 1-1 15, Colton McCargar 4-8 0-0 12, George Valle 9-12 3-3 23, Taylor Farnsworth 2-3 2-4 6, Robby Douglas 1-2 0-0 3, Austin Ehlo 2-5 0-0 6, Zach Payne 3-4 0-1 6, Hank Aldous 2-4 0-0 5, Drew Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon Loiler 0-0 0-0 0, Adam Wilks 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 34-56 6-9 90.
Daniel Simon 1-4 2-4 4, Tanner Neumann 1-2 0-0 2, Brandon Rydberg 3-3 2-2 10, Adam Greger 7-9 3-4 17, Bryan Bock 5-13 2-2 12, Reid Baerlocher 0-1 0-0 0, Mitch Buerkle 0-0 0-0 0, Travis Peevey 6-12 0-0 16, Danny Hebert 1-2 0-0 2, Roman Pruneda-Garza 3-4 0-1 6, Quinn Smith 1-4 1-2 3, Nathan Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Paul Engstrom 1-1 1-1 3. Totals 29-55 11-16 75.
Halftime — Whitworth 47, Tech 36. 3-point goals — Whitworth 16-27 (Larkin 4-6, McConnell 2-3, McCargar 4-7. Valle 2-3, Douglas 1-1, Ehlo 2-5, Aldous 1-2), Tech 6-19 (Neumann 0-1, Rydberg 2-2, Greger 0-2, Bock 0-3, Baerlocher 0-1, Peevey 4-9, Hebert 0-1). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Whitworh 13, Tech 14. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Whitworh 26 (Larkin 6), Tech 26 (Simon 7). Blocks — Whitworth 4 (Farnsworth 3), Tech 2 (Q. Smith 1, Engstrom 1). Assists — Whitworth 19 (McConnell 7), Tech 16 (Simon 7). Steals — Whitworth 6 (Valle 2, Farnswoth 2), Tech 5 (Rydberg 2). Turnovers — Whitworth 10, Tech 10.