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College Basketball

Westmont Men Outgunned by William Jessup in OT, 103-96

Despite a career-high 32 points from senior guard Cory Blau, NAIA seventh-ranked Westmont (15-2, 4-1 GSAC), dropped an overtime game to Golden State Athletic Conference opponent William Jessup (13-5, 3-1) by a score of 103-96 on Thursday in Rocklin

William Jessup scored 20 points in overtime to hand the Warriors their first loss since Thanksgiving weekend. Westmont had won 12 in a row.

Blau was 11 of 18 from the floor, including six of nine from 3-point range. He also made four of four from the charity stripe. In addition, Blau had six rebounds and three assists.

"Jessup played well and played with a lot of emotion," said Westmont head coach John Moore. "We just didn't play the defensive game we needed to play. Anytime you give up 103 points, including 20 points in a five-minute overtime, that will bury you every time. Our defense, which has been one of our mainstays, was not quite what we needed it to be tonight."

Jessup carried an eight-point lead into the locker room at halftime (49-41) and extended it to 12 early in the second half (56-44).

That is when momentum shifted in favor of Westmont.

After Jerry Karczewski drained another 3-pointer, Blau scored on a layup in the paint. Blau was fouled on the play and after much deliberation, the officials charged a level one flagrant foul against a Jessup player, awarding Blau three free throws. Blau sank them all to produce a five-point play and a 56-53 score.

A steal by Blau resulted in yet another three from Karczewski, tying the game at 56. Hayden Anderson (11 points, 5 assists) and Sean Harman (11 points, 6 rebounds) added a layup and a jumper, respectively, to complete a 16-0 run and turn the scoreboard to 60-56 in favor of Westmont.

"We really battled in the second half," said Moore. "We took the lead and I thought we could have continued with the momentum we had. But we got a little bit careless with defensive rebounds and a little bit careless with our turnovers. Those two things were the things that hurt us the most."

Westmont held the lead for the next four minutes, before William Jessup took a 66-64 lead with 9:35 showing on the second-half clock. The score would remain within four points over the next five minutes until Jessup's Elijah Lewis (17 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds) scored on a layup to put Jessup up 75-70. 

A couple of free throws by Harman put the Warriors within three, but Jessup's Michael Patterson (16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) scored to restore a five-point cushion to the home team (77-72) with 5:22 to play.

More than a minute later, Sean McDonnell scored in the paint, making the score 77-74. Another minute passed before Blau struck from long distance to tie the game at 77-all.

Jessup's Brandon Lindsey (16 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds) scored on their next possession, but Blau nailed another 3-pointer to regain the lead for Westmont at 80-79 with 2:22 remaining.

A jumper by Lindsey with 1:19 showing on the clock returned the lead to Jessup (81-79). However, Blau knocked down yet another three with 1:03 to go, giving Westmont an 83-81 lead.

"We didn't get a couple of breaks late," noted Moore. "We had the ball with a two-point lead and got a tough call. I was wanting to extend that lead to four, but we just didn't execute well. A turnover and defensive rebound, that's what it came down to."

With just 13 second remaining in regulation, Lindsey drove the lane and scored again, tying the game at 83. 

"We had the ball in Hayden Anderson's hands with a chance to win the game," noted Moore. "We felt like we could attack his player. Jessup did a nice job walling Hayden up but he got a shot off anyway. We might have even had a finger on the ball for a second chance tip-in."

The ball did not fall through the netting, however, and time expired with the score tied.

Overtime belonged to the home team, which scored the first four points and never looked back.

The Warriors will remain in Northern California for a game on Saturday afternoon at Menlo. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 o'clock.

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