Three guards in double figures led Westmont men’s basketball team to a 69-62 win over The Master’s in Santa Clarita on Tuesday as the Warriors won their second-straight game on the road. Junior Nasa Sete and senior Josh Ware each scored 13 points, with Ware pulling down nine rebounds and tallying three steals. Sophomore Andrew Schmalbach added another 12 points and also had three steals.
Westmont (10-8, 4-6 in the Golden State Athletic Conference) shot 53.2 percent from the floor and won the battle of the boards, 30-24. The Warriors also pilfered the ball on 10 occasions. Defensively, Westmont held Ryan Zamroz, the GSAC’s second-leading scorer to a scoreless first half and 10 points in the game. Zamroz averages 18.6 per game. Eric Durso, who averages 15.6 points, was held to 12. Jeremy led The Master’s (11-9, 5-5) with 20 points.
The Mustangs jumped out to an 8-4 lead to begin the game but Westmont scored the next eight points to go up, 12-8, with 14:31 remaining on the clock. Midway through the first half, the margin remained the same (20-16) before Westmont went on an 11-2 run to take a 13-point lead (31-18). The Master’s managed to pull within nine before the clock expired but freshman forward Blake Bender (nine points, four rebounds) scored on a layup to give Westmont a 35-24 advantage at the half.
Westmont maintained its lead as the second half began and held a 12-point lead with 11 minutes remaining (49-37). But the Mustangs had not given up. Haggerty successfully completed two free throws and then excited the crowd with a dunk that made the score 49-41. Zamroz then scored his first points of the night on a three-point shot that cut the margin to 49-44.
Sete scored on a layup for the Warriors, but Zamroz duplicated the effort and converted a free-throw attempt to narrow the margin to 51-47. A jumper by Durso with 7:12 on the clock brought the Master’s to within two points, 51-49. But a free throw by Dan Rasp and a jumper by Ware gave the Warriors breathing room, 54-49, with six minutes to play.
Over the next three and a half minutes, Westmont made six of six free-throw attempts and expanded its advantage to seven points, 62-55. Zamroz made four of four free throws over the next two minutes, but those points were negated with a jumper by Sete and a layup by sophomore guard Matt LeDuc (eight points).
The Mustangs’ Josh Herman scored from three-point range with just 30 seconds remaining to move The Master’s to within four points, but Tyler Dutton went three for four from the charity stripe in the final 15 seconds to secure the win for Westmont.
In other GSAC games Tuesday, No. 14 California Baptist (16-2, 8-2) upset No. 3 Concordia (17-2, 8-2) to pull into a first-place tie with the Eagles. No. 10 Point Loma Nazarene (16-4, 7-3) defeated San Diego Christian (4-14, 1-9), 85-66. Fresno Pacific (16-5, 7-4) picked up an 83-61 win over Hope International (1-15, 1-9) and Azusa Pacific (13-7, 5-5) beat Biola (11-9, 3-7), 60-50.
As a result, Westmont currently holds eighth place in the conference standings with a one game lead over Biola. The Warriors are one game behind The Master’s, which is alone in seventh place.
The Warriors return home to begin the second half of a GSAC schedule that will feature six home games out of the 10 remaining contests. Westmont hosts California Baptist on Saturday and Azusa Pacific on Feb. 5. Both
games tip off at 7:30 p.m.
Ron Smith is Westmont College’s sports information director.