• Score: #9 Whitworth-76, Johns Hopkins-74
• Records: JHU (8-4) • WU (9-1)
• Location: Las Vegas, NV • South Point Arena
• The Short Story: In a game that featured 13 ties and 14 lead changes, it was no surprise that this one game down to the wire. Senior Michael Gardner's half-court shot at the buzzer hit the rim and ninth-ranked Whitworth took a 76-74 win over the Johns Hopkins men's basketball team Saturday at the D3hoops.com Classic.
How it Happened
• Trailing 74-71, Jordan Lester swiped the ball at midcourt and fed an outlet pass to Ben College, who drained a three-pointer with 30.3 seconds to play. The Blue Jays took over and with 10 ticks on the clock, Gardner's pull-up jumper missed the mark. Lester corralled the rebound, went the length of the court and hit a lay-up to put the Pirates up two with 1.2 seconds left. Gardner took the inbounds' pass and got off a great look just shy of mid-court, but his shot hit the rim and bounced away as time expired.
• Neither team led by more than six in the first half as the teams traded runs. Jared Christy put Whitworth up 29-27 with a bucket in the paint at the 2:34-mark. Hopkins answered with three three-pointers from Gardner and sophomore Joey Kern to close out the half on a 9-4 run and take a 36-33 lead into the half.
• The Blue Jays maintained their lead for the opening 3:15 of the second until a 10-4 Pirate run swung the lead in their favor. Whitworth's lead see-sawed up and down over the ensuing eight minutes as the Pirates kept the Blue Jays at arms' length. A Noah Ralby layup and a Joey Fitzpatrick triple put Hopkins on top 57-56 at the 8:45-mark. The lead was short-lived however as a Lester layup grabbed the lead back for Whitworth.
• Senior Daniel Vila answered with a pair of free throws and a bucket in the paint to spark a quick 6-1 run that gave Hopkins a 63-59 lead. This time it was the Blue Jays' that kept their opponent at arms' length as they kept the lead until Lester's layup with just 1.2 ticks on the clock.
What it Means
• This was just the second meeting between Hopkins and Whitworth and first in 10 years. The Pirates have won both meetings.
• Tonight's game was Hopkins's second this season against a top-10 team, the Blue Jays are 1-1 in those two games.
Inside the Box Score
• Kern led the Blue Jays with a game and career-high 23 points. He also tied his career-high with a game-best five three-pointers. Gardner added 16 points, including 12 from downtown, and six assists. Vila and freshman Braeden Johnson chipped in 11 points each. Johnson also grabbed a career-high seven rebounds.
• Kyle Roach led Pirates with 20 points, going 11-of-15 from the line, while also pulling a game-high 13 rebounds. Lester scored 14 points to go with seven boards and three assists. Christy grabbed 11 rebounds while College chipped in 13 points.
• This was just the third time this season that Whitworth was held to 76 points or fewer. The fifth-ranked offense in the nation, Hopkins held Whitworth to 23 points below its season average The Pirates had scored in triple digits in each of their last four games.
• Hopkins is idle for 10 days and will return to action on Tuesday, January 8 against Muhlenberg. Tip-off at Goldfarb Gym is slated for 8:00 pm.