SPOKANE, Wash. – Spencer Bolte came off the bench to score a game-high 22 points, hitting 11 of 14 from the free throw line and 9 of 10 in the final 1:18, as George stunned third-ranked Whitworth 89-81 in Northwest Conference action on Saturday at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
George Fox improved to 14-9 on the season and 9-5 in conference, ending a 15-game losing streak to the Pirates and holding onto sole possession of third place in the league standings. Whitworth has already clinched a share of the NWC title but failed to secure the outright crown by falling to 20-3 overall and 12-2 in the league with its consecutive loss – the first time in four years the Pirates have dropped back-to-back league games.
A.J. Grant snuck inside for a layup to give the Bruins an early 2-0 lead and they never trailed. There were four ties in the first seven minutes of the game. A 3-pointer by Anthony Sanchez with 13:03 left in the half broke the final tie and started a 12-0 run that ended with Jason Martin’s layup, giving George Fox a 22-10 lead with 10:20 left.
Whitworth closed to within 33-29 when Colton McCargar hit 1 of 2 from the free throw line with 2:08 to go, but Anthony Sanchez scored inside and Sean Atkins converted on a pair of free throws in the final minute to give the Bruins a 37-29 halftime lead. The Bruins shot .571 (16-for-28) in the opening 20 minutes.
Sanchez put back a rebound to start the second half and gave the Bruins a 10-point lead again, then made a 3-pointer to make it 42-31 at the 18:58 mark. An 11-5 Whitworth run, capped by Wade Gebbers’ 3-pointer, pulled the Pirates within five at 47-42 with 15:24 remaining. Bolte answered with a 3-pointer of his own and pulled away from Whitworth.
Leading 53-46, George Fox used a 7-0 run to take its largest lead of 14 points at 60-46 with 11:36 to play, and the gap hovered around 10 points the rest of the game. Bolte began his string of 9-for-10 free throws with a pair at 1:18 that gave the Bruins an 81-68 lead. When Dustin McConnell made a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left, Whitworth had pulled within six at 83-77, but Bolte made 5 of 6 from the charity stripe in the final 35 seconds to keep the Bucs at bay.
Bolte was 5-for-11 from the field in leading the Bruins, who shot .527 (29 of 55) for the game, .474 (9-for-19) from 3-point range and .815 (22 of 27) from the line. Grant added 20 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 3-for-6 from downtown, and Sanchez had 19 on 6 of 10 field goals, 4-for-6 from outside the arc. Atkins scored 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
McConnell scored 19 points to lead the Pirates, while Taylor Farnsworth scored 17 points, McCargar and Gebbers each scored 13, and George Valle finished with 10. McConnell and McCargar each had six rebounds, while Gebbers passed out five assists and made two steals.