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College Basketball

Biola Edges Westmont Men at the Wire

Despite rallying from a 15-point second-half deficit to tie the game, the 12th-ranked Westmont men's basketball team  fell victim to No. 6 Biola  63-60 in a Golden State Athletic Conference match-up.

Westmont (17-5, 6-4 GSAC) trailed Biola (22-2, 8-2)  found itself down 41-26 early in the second half.

Over the next five minutes, however, Westmont produced a 13-2 run that was fueled by 3-point buckets by Hayden Anderson and Samuel Bentz, a pair of layups by Sean McDonnell, another by Zac Jervis and a free throw by Jerry Karczewski.

Holding on to a 43-39 lead, Biola responded with a layup by Caelan Tiongson and a long-range field goal by Ryan Swan to go up 48-39 midway through the second half.

Westmont rallied again, scoring the next seven points. A jumper by Sean Harman was followed by another basket from downtown by Anderson. Olisa Nwachie then hit a pair of free throws to make the score 48-46 with just under eight minutes to play.

After Biola's Dakari Archer connected on a jumper to make the score 50-46, Nwachie scored on a layup and then a 12-foot jumper to pull the Warriors even at 50 points apiece with 6:13 to play.

Biola's Trevor Trienen nailed a three to put Biola in front 53-50 with 5:25 showing on the clock. Then, neither team scored for nearly two minutes. Karczewski pulled the Warriors to within one with a pair of free throws. Then, with 3:15 to go, Karczewski drained two more from the charity stripe to give Westmont its first lead (54-53) in more than 35 minutes of play.

With 2:25 remaining, Trienen snatched the lead back for Biola with a successful jumper. However, Harman scored on a layup to return the slimmest of margins (56-55) to the Warriors with 2:35 to play. Harman was fouled on the bucket and converted the three-point play to make it 57-55 in favor of Westmont.

A layup by the Eagle's Alex Talma tied the game at 57 before Karczewski made a free throw to give Westmont a 58-57 advantage with 1:03 to play. Just 13 seconds later, Talma scored again to make it 59-58 in favor of Biola.

On Westmont's next possession,  McDonnell was fouled by Talma and made both free throw attempts to claim a Westmont lead (60-59) with 39 seconds before the end of regulation. However, Ryan Swain swiped the lead for Biola on a pair of free throws with 26 seconds remaining. 

After a timeout, the Warriors inbounded the ball and eventually found Sam Bentz on the periphery. Thinking his defender had made contact, Bentz put up a shot with seven seconds to play, but no foul was called. It would be the last decent shot the Warriors would get. 

Karczewski quickly fouled Trienen to give the Warriors another shot at the ball. Trienen made both free throws to account for the final score. Westmont inbounded the ball, but had to settle for a three-quarter court shot that fell short.

The game marks the last time Westmont will face Biola in the GSAC regular season. The Eagles are transitioning to NCAA Division II after this season. There have been 112 meetings between the two teams, with Westmont holding a 59-53 series advantage.

Before returning to GSAC play next week, Westmont will host Shepherd (3-18) on Saturday night in Murchison Gymnasium.

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