Westmont Men’s Basketball (9-0, 1-0 GSAC) started the 2019-20 Golden State Athletic Conference season with a 99-92 victory at OUAZ (Ariz.) (3-4, 0-1).

Justin Bessard led the 22nd-ranked Warriors in scoring with 21 points while also tallying seven rebounds and four assists. Abram Carrasco tallied 18 points and four rebounds.

“Justin and Bram had a little bit of a Pima College homecoming,” said Westmont head coach John Moore of the performances by the two transfer students. “They were our two leading scorers.”

In addition to Bessard and Carrasco, four more Warriors scored in double figures, including three reserves.

“I thought our bench was outstanding,” said Westmont head coach. “One of the goals for our bench was to outscore theirs by 15 points. We outscored them 34-4. Between Gyse Hulsebosch (13 points, 4 assists), Tyler Austin (11 points) and Tristan Lloyd (10 points, 3 assists), it more than made up for not having our friend Cade Roth.”

Roth is recovering from an appendectomy he had last month and is expected to rejoin the team later this month. 

“Justin had his best game of his Westmont career,” asserted Moore. “He was perfect from the floor. Tyler hasn’t played a lot, but he gave us great energy off the bench. Gyse is Gyse. He is always capable of scoring many points.”

Also scoring in double figures was Jared Brown who notched 17 points, three rebounds and three steals.

“Having six guys in double figures, I thought we did nice job of executing with our offense, especially in the first half. We rebounded the ball well and shot it well. We had 16 more shots than our opponents. On a night when Hunter Sipe wasn’t quite what he has been offensively, he was able to get six offensive rebounds and 12 rebounds overall. He was really good on the glass.”

Midway through the first half, Westmont took its biggest lead of the game when Hulsebosch scored on a jumper to make the score 77-61.

“We reached a little bit, didn’t play great defense with our feet and didn’t have the right defensive mindset to start the game,” offered Moore regarding his teams’ foul total. “That said, I think there were times in the second half that we were quite good defensiveness. That is what created our 16 points lead.”

The Spirit fought back and came within five points (96-91) with less than a minute to play, but the Warrior defense stiffened and denied OUAZ a chance to get any closer.

Westmont’s road trip to Arizona will continue with a game against Arizona Christian on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is scheduled for one o’clock.