The Whitworth University Men’s Basketball Team was ranked 1st in the NCAA Division III West Region standings posted on February 28th.
The Pirates finished the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 28-2. Whitworth faced the College of Wooster in the Elite Eight and fell 76-66.
The Pirates’ Season
The Pirates finished their season with impressive records. The team won 28 games, made it to the NCAA Elite Eight, and made their fifth NCAA Appearance in six seasons. Even with all the hard work the Pirates put into this season, it wasn’t enough to overcome the College of Wooster.
The Pirates started the game off strong, but as the first half continued on Wooster showed its dominance. Wooster went on an 18-4 run to go into halftime with a 37-33 lead. The Pirates didn’t give up and came back in the second half, gaining the lead 51-49 with 8:30 left to go.
A three-pointer from Wooster took the lead back and Wooster would not trail again. Whitwoth shot 40% from the field going 23 for 57 and outrebounded Wooster 37-30, but committed 13 turnovers. Wooster shot 45% from the field, including 52% from the three-point range. Head Coach Jim Hayford leads the Pirates but needs Michael Taylor, David Riley, and Felix Friedt to be successful.
About The Team
Head Coach Jim Hayford finished his 10th season with the Pirates. In his tenure with Whitworth, he has amassed an overall record of 217-57, coached the Pirates to eight 20-win seasons, 6 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, four Northwest Conference titles, two NCAA DIII Sweet 16 appearances, and an Elite Eight appearance.
He has earned five NWC Coach of the Year awards, including this season and his second NABC West Region Coach of the Year nod. Hayford will not be returning next season as we has accepted the head coaching position at Eastern Washington University, a Division I program.
Senior Michael Taylor was named NWC Player of the Year, All-NWC First Team, NABC West Region Player of the Year, NABC First Team All-American, and NCAA DIII Player of the Year. He has been the key to Whitworth’s success and averaged 20.3 points and 3.6 assists per game, while having an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.27. Senior David Riley was also named to the All-NWC First Team and D3Hoops.com All-West Region Third Team.
Riley averages 16.8 points and 2.73 three-pointers made per game. He set a school record by making 10 three-pointers in 19 attempts in the game against Willamette. Riley is the fifth player in school history to surpass 1,500 career points. Junior Felix Friedt was named All-NWC Second Team. He averages 12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while making 58.6% of his shots from the field and 81.3% of his free throws.
About The School
Whitworth University is located in Spokane, WA and has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students. Whitworth is recognized as one of the top regional colleges and universities in the West and offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
The university seeks to equip students to advance its founder’s mission to “honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity.”