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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 11:07 pm | Fair 51º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Rasp, Hofer Lead Warriors into Byron Championship

Westmont goes to the wire to beat Baruch, 57-55. Warriors square off against undefeated Puget Sound in title matchup.

Freshman forward Dan Rasp led Westmont’s men’s basketball team with 17 points and junior guard Colin Hofer added 14 as the Warriors (5-4) beat Baruch (4-6) of New York on Friday, 57-55, to advance to the championship game of the 32nd Annual Tom Byron Classic.

"Colin had a very nice game," Westmont coach John Moore said. "I am most proud of his eight rebounds. That’s a real sign of where he has come to."

The Warriors will take on Puget Sound (7-0) of Washington in Saturday night’s championship game at 7:30 p.m. at Murchison Gymnasium. Puget Sound defeated Edgewood (3-6) of Wisconsin, 93-80, in the Byron opener. Edgewood and Baruch will face off in Saturday’s consolation game at 5:30 p.m.

"It was a game of runs," Moore explained. "They were up 16-8 and we outscored them 25-10 to end the first half. We were up by nine (at the start of the second half), and they went on a run."

Four and a half minutes into the second half, Rasp scored on a layup to put the Warriors in front, 39-30. But a 13-2 run by the Bearcats, fueled by three-point baskets from Tammer Farid (11 points) and Michael Dietz (eight points), put Baruch back in the driver’s seat with a 43-41 advantage.

Nasa Sete (seven points) and Matt LuDuc (four points) scored back-to-back buckets for the Warriors to put Westmont up, 45-43, before the Bearcats’ Lionel Hilaire’s (14 points, four assists) jumper tied the game at 45 with just over nine minutes remaining in regulation.

Senior forward Drew Benac’s field goal gave Westmont a 47-45 lead, but Baruch scored the next eight points on long-range shots by Dietz and Hilaire and a jumper by William Falkenhainer. The result was Baruch’s largest lead of the second half, 53-47, with just over five minutes left in the game.

In the following minute, Rasp scored on back-to-back jumpers and Westmont regained the lead, 54-53, with 2:46 to go when Hofer nailed his fourth three-pointer of the evening.

Neither team scored for more than two minutes until Rasp made the first of two free-throw attempts to put Westmont up 55-53 with 27 seconds to play. Baruch’s Lawrence Smith snatched the rebound from Rasp’s missed second free-throw attempt and Farid drove the lane in the ensuing possession to tie the game at 55 with nine seconds remaining.

Ron Smith is Westmont College‘s sports information director.

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