SAN DIMAS — After defeating Life Pacific by a score of 80-56 Westmont Men’s Basketball (15-10, 8-8 GSAC) is now one win away from clinching a spot in the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament. 

The Warriors began the night in a sixth-place tie with the Menlo Oaks, but with Menlo losing to ACU on Saturday, Westmont’s win over LPU put the Warriors one game over the Oaks (7-9) for the final spot in the tournament.

On Thursday, February 16, the Warriors will welcome the Oaks into Murchison Gym for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off. If the Warriors win that game, Westmont will have clinched a postseason berth.

Knowing the stakes, the Warriors took nothing for granted on Saturday night.

“We came out with a lot of fire,” said Westmont head coach Landon Boucher. “We had been sitting around all day, on the bus, and in the restaurants. We were watching the games around the conference that were happening earlier in the day, and when you do that this time of year, you’re almost thinking about your game even more as the day goes on.”

The road-Warriors looked like they had been itching to get on the court when they opened the contest on an absurd 23-3 run across the first 10 minutes. Over the final 10 minutes of the half, however, shots began to fall for the home team who cut the deficit to single digits by halftime.

“We opened up really well,” noted Boucher. “We opened up with a lot of intensity and were on the run when we got stops. We opened with a 23-3 lead, and then hit somewhat of a wall defensively. A lot of times when you come out that strong, you have the temptation to lose your steam.

“We did that a little bit, and it allowed them to cut it to nine by half, but in the second half we were in the same situation and handled it better.”

In the final period Westmont went on a 20-9 run over the first 10 minutes, allowing their lead to build back up passed 20. Like Boucher said, the Warriors kept their foot on the gas pedal, stretching their lead to 25 with 6:23 remaining. Minutes later, the Warriors officially came away with a 24-point victory.

“We got out to a 20-point lead and instead of reeling back, we kept going forward,” applauded Boucher. “They had only 29 points during the second half, and three of those were at the very end of the game. It was a really good defensive effort in the second half.”

Individually, Anthony McIntyre led the Warriors with 20 points on eight of 13 shooting. McIntyre, who converted four of six three-point attempts, also pulled down seven rebounds.”

“Anthony McIntyre made the winning plays tonight in the second half,” said Boucher. “Amir Davis did as well. Amir didn’t score tonight, he took only one shot, but he had eight rebounds and six assists. A lot of those assists were to 3-pointers. Amir contributed to scoring, just not his own scoring.”

Also making a dent in the box score was Tone Patton Sr., who scored 14 points, and Cade Roth, who added 11. Off the bench, Zeke Viuhkola scored 13 points and Jalen Townsell contributed with 7. Townsell made five of six attempts from the free throw line, where Westmont collectively made 15 of 20.

“Tone was really effective inside, going seven for 11, and then Zeke and Jalen were both huge off the bench. I thought Zeke made a lot of high energy plays that helped us extend the lead in the second half. Overall, we had a ton of contributors tonight.”

Westmont has five days to prepare for the biggest game of their season, when the Menlo Oaks come to town for a 7:30 p.m. contest in Santa Barbara. Links to tickets and live coverage are available on the Westmont Athletics website.