Westmont Men’s Basketball had a tough time keeping up with the Saint Martin’s Saints on Saturday afternoon inside Murchison Gym.
A late surge in the final minutes made the line score look more competitive, but the Warriors trailed by as many as 23 in a dominant showing by the road team.
“Saint Martin’s is a great team,” Westmont head coach Landon Boucher said. “They have warranted the reputation that they have on the floor. They have a lot of senior leadership with guys that have been together for a very long time.
“They’re going to have a tremendous year, and they deserve a lot of credit for coming in here and winning two tough games against PacWest teams.”
Westmont could not buy a basket in the first half, shooting just over 20% from the field for much of the period. Westmont also missed their first nine attempts from beyond the arc, and was only awarded two free throws during the first 20 minutes of action.
With 4:30 to play in the first half Saint Martin’s took their biggest lead so far at 30-16. Over the next two minutes, Westmont got consecutive 3-pointers from Zeke Viuhkola and Drew Ramirez to get back within eight, but the dry spell returned over the period’s final minutes.
Westmont entered the locker room at halftime trailing 35-25, while shooting just 31.3% from the field (10-32).
In the second half, Westmont got back within seven at the 15:25 mark, when Drew Ramirez hit what felt like a momentum-shifting 3-pointer. Instead, four minutes later, Westmont found themselves down 17 (57-40) after a 14-4 run by the Saints.
Things would get worse before they got better for Westmont, as at the seven-minute mark in the game the Saints built their lead to a game-high 23 points (70-47).
Viuhkola made the final score look prettier in the final minutes, as the sophomore hit a trio of three-pointers down the stretch to pull Westmont within 11.
Still, the damage was already done as the Warriors fell 75-64 to the Saints on Saturday afternoon.
Individually, Viuhkola had the hot hand off the bench with a game-high 17 points on six of seven shooting. Behind him, Anthony McIntyre and Drew Ramirez each had 12 points, while Jalen Townsell added 10 of his own.
Amir Davis had a team-high 10 rebounds to go along with eight points and was also one of three Warriors to have a team-best three assists.
“There are still some positives you can look at from the final line,” said Boucher. “That’s one of the biggest teams on the West Coast, and they only got five offensive rebounds against us. We also only turned the ball over nine times.
“If you’d told me before the game we’d give up five o-boards and turn the ball over less than 10 times, I’d have imagined a different outcome.”
Boucher continued, “If we played that game over again, we’d probably try to attack them differently on offense. Tonight, we really struggled with their zone. They really disrupted our rhythm, and we had a tough time getting our looks inside out.
“It’s tough to get open threes when we’re swinging it around the perimeter without any paint touches. We shot 36 threes tonight, and when you look at the end, we made 12 of them. The problem, I think, was we just didn’t score inside the arc enough.
“We weren’t able to capitalize on the opportunities at the rim, and it made a big difference in the game.”
The Warriors will return to The Murch on Wednesday night for a 6:00 p.m. tip-off against Bethesda. Links to tickets and live coverage are available on the Westmont Athletics website.