McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Within striking distance of defending Northwest Conference champion Whitworth at halftime, the Linfield Wildcats faded in the second half on their way to a 83-59 defeat Saturday evening inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Ten key points by Whitworth star Colton McCargar fueled a 16-2 burst to begin the second period. McCarger ended the night with a game-high 19 points, connecting on 4-of-7 shots from 3-point range.
Linfield's Ryan Potter (Fr., Molalla, Ore.) started the game off hot, scoring 12 points in the first half, before the Pirates tightened the clamps by holding the freshman guard scoreless in the second half. Chris Dirks (Jr., Hood River, Ore.) was the only other Wildcat to reach double figures in scoring with 11 points.
George Valle grabbed a game-high eight rebounds for the Pirates, who improved to 11-4 for the season and remained in a three-way tie for first place in the NWC standings at 5-1.
Both defenses held their ground during the opening minutes, with each squad going scoreless in the first two minutes.
Mason Rodby (Fr., Redmond, Ore.) hit the game's first field goal for an early 2-1 Linfield lead at the 17-minute mark. Dustin McConnell hit the game's first 3-point field goal with 16:01 on the clock to put the Pirates up 4-2.
Potter answered by scoring four points on Linfield's next two possessions, giving Linfield a 6-4 lead.
Each team traded buckets, putting Linfield down 12-11 with about 11 minutes left in the half. Whitworth then went on a 6-0 run for the next few minutes until Chris Dirks (Jr., Hood River, Ore.) hit a straightaway 3-pointer to cut the deficit to four with 7:49 remaining.
The margin remained close but Whitworth eventually jumped to a 26-18 lead after a Drew Sears' offensive rebound and layup.
Linfield answered on its next possession with a deep 3-pointer from Potter to cut the lead to five. McCargar responded right after with a 3-pointer of his own less than a minute later.
Running down the clock to take the final shot of the half, McConnell kicked the ball out to McCargar for a 3-pointer and was fouled by Linfield's Vinnie Toor (Jr., Fremont, Calif.) with .8 seconds remaining. McCargar went on to make the three free throws, giving Whitworth a double-digit 41-30 advantage at halftime.
Both teams converted 11 field goals in the game's first 10 minutes, but the Pirates hit six 3-pointers in the period, twice as many as Linfield while also cashing in eight more free throws than the home team.
Whitworth started off the second half strong, going on a 13-2 run. George Valle went up strong for a rebound and put the ball in the basket to push the Pirates to a 22-point lead at the 16:42 mark.
Linfield wouldn't score again until 12:13 remained as Cody Jurgens (Soph., Hillsboro, Ore.) made one out of two free-throws to give Linfield just its third point of the half.
Jurgens, playing a season-high 12 minutes, provided somewhat of a spark for the trailing Wildcats with eight points in four minutes, four coming by way of slashes to the basket that resulted in free throws.
Eleven of the 15 Pirates who played scored in the game. In addition to McCarger's 19, Christian Jurlina aaded 12 points and Robby Douglas had nine. McConnell had four assists to go with his seven points.
Whitworth shot a glossy 51 percent for the game while the Wildcats converted at a rate of 38 percent.
Linfield dropped to 2-13 for the season, remaining winless in conference action at 0-6.
AHEAD: Linfield travels to Tacoma, Wash., for a Friday matchup at Pacific Lutheran. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. with live audio coverage starting at 7:50.
6 points, 2 assists, 2 steals
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128