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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 12:19 pm | A Few Clouds 59º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
College Basketball

Westmont Holds Off Southern Oregon, Improves to 8-1

(ATHERTON, Calif.) Westmont Men’s Basketball (8-1) edged Southern Oregon (5-3) by a score of 76-74. Southern Oregon missed a layup in the final second of the game that would have forced overtime. Jerry Karczewski finished with 19 points in the victory.

Westmont head coach John Moore said, “I really liked the way we came back. I think last night was a game in which we played exceptionally well in the second half and made it into a run-away game. Tonight’s game was probably more important because we had to learn to play together in a game that we were losing.”

The first half saw a few big point swings. Westmont was up 13-6 with 14:10 remaining in the half. Over the next nine and a half minutes, Southern Oregon went on a 24-6 run thereby erasing the Warriors’ seven point lead and reaching an 11 point advantage.

Halftime found the score 36-29 in favor of Southern Oregon. The Raiders shot 42.4 percent from the field at halftime – Westmont shot 33.3 percent.

This game proved to be about which team was going to go on a run late in the game. Both teams shot the ball at a high percentage in the second half. The Warriors went 68 percent from the field and the Raiders shot 57 percent.

The Warriors were down 43-48 with 13:24 left in the game when Karczewski connected on a three and was fouled – he went on to hit the free throw to complete the four-point play. Olisa Nwachie scored two on a layup and was later fouled. He hit the first of his two chances – putting the Warriors up 50-48 with eleven and a half minutes in the game.

“I thought Olisa Nwachie had one of the best games he’s ever had. He had six assists and no turnovers – that’s big for a post guy. He found guys right and left,” said Moore. “I think he is becoming much more comfortable out there. He has played exceptionally well three of the last four games. He’s finding a role – the right role for him to play and the right positions for him to be in. He didn’t make any mistakes today.”

The two teams traded blows over the next seven minutes with neither team possessing a lead greater than four points. With 4:05 left on the clock, the Warriors went on their biggest run of the night. Kyle Scalmanini and Nwachie hit layups, Karczewski sunk a three, and Sothern Oregon scored on a layup. Zac Jervis continued the run with a layup of his own and Nwachie finished the run with a layup.

Moore said, “I think we hit big shots. Anytime you go on an 11-2 run you have to be scoring and stopping. We were able to get stops on the other end. We made the correct choices and made the right shots. I thought we established ourselves on the inside better in the second half. That allowed us to have open threes.”

The Warriors were now up by six with 52 seconds remaining. Kenny Meyre hit a layup and was fouled for Southern Oregon. He went on to make the free throw – bringing the score to 75-72. Karczewski missed a three and Aaron Borich came down and laid the ball in with 10 seconds remaining – brining the Raiders within one at 75-74.

Southern Oregon was forced to foul, this brought Karczewski to the line where he missed the first and hit the second – Westmont up by two. Borich drove to the basket and was fouled with a little over a second remaining. Borich missed his first free throw, this forced him to intentionally miss the second. Jordan Hunt came down with the offensive rebound and missed the layup as time expired – giving the Warriors a 76-74 victory.

Moore added, "I think they are one of the best executing teams that we play year in and year out. I was fearful that they would try and bury a three there at the end – fortunately they didn’t. They ended up at the free throw line and we were glad that they missed the layup.”

Westmont returns to the court next Friday as they host Antelope Valley at 7:30 p.m. 

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