In their final home game of the season on Saturday night, Westmont Men’s Basketball (14-12, 4-12 GSAC) could not overcome their late-game woes and fell to Life Pacific (7-16, 4-12 GSAC) 80-78.
Life Pacific got out to a lead at the end of the first half that left Westmont chasing the road-Warriors well into the second. While Westmont was able to catch the visitors down the stretch, the home-Warriors squandered a handful of opportunities to win in the final moments of both regulation and overtime.
When the game finally reached overtime, Life Pacific was able to cap off their magical night. Overall, the road-Warriors made 15 of 30 shots from three-point range in their first-ever win over Westmont (not counting a COVID-19 forfeit earlier this season).
Nate Meithof led Westmont with 21 points, while Jared Brown and Jalen Townsell contributed with 17 points each. Tyler Austin led the club with eight rebounds, while Brown led the team with three assists.
In the first half, Life’s hot shooting from beyond the arc briefly gave the club an early advantage at 12-9. Then, a jumper from Ajay Singh and a 3-pointer from Jared Brown put the home team up 14-12.
Life tied the game momentarily at 14, but after Brown recorded a pair of free throws to put Westmont up 16-14, the home-Warriors led for the next six minutes.
Following a 25-25 tie with 7:30 left in the frame, Life Pacific once again got the hot hand from deep, and hit back-to-back threes to take a 33-27 advantage. On the following trip down the court, Life got an offensive rebound leading to a layup to take a 35-27 lead, causing Boucher to call timeout at the 5:16 mark.
Westmont clawed at the lead for the remainder of the half, and had multiple opportunities to reclaim the lead in the final minute, but the road-Warriors held on to carry a 41-40 lead going into halftime.
The first portion of the second half, Westmont was slow to get going, scoring only eight points in the first 7:30. Meithof took the lid off the basket when he hit a 3-pointer with 12:34 left to play, pulling the club within two.
Then, with 11:07 to play, Meithof hit a jumper to tie things at 53. Once again, however, Life Pacific answered Westmont’s run with one of their. The road club followed up Meithof’s equalizer with a 9-3 run to take a 62-56 lead with under eight minutes remaining.
Another mid-range shot from Meithof followed by a jumper and a three from Singh closed the gap, and gave the home-Warriors a 63-62 lead with 6:08 to play. It was Westmont’s first lead of the second half.
The lead was short-lived as Life Pacific answered with a layup and a free throw of their own to take a 65-63 lead with 3:44 to play. Following a timeout, Meithof quickly tied the game at 65.
Unfortunately for Westmont, Life Pacific responded with their 12th and 13th 3-pointers of the night, giving the road-Warriors a 71-65 lead with 2:25 to play. On Westmont’s next two possessions, Brown willed himself to convert a pair of contested layups to make it a one possession game.
Then, after their third consecutive stop, Cly Griffith Jr. finally woke up the home crowd with a game-tying layup. With under a minute to play, Westmont collected a pair of offensive rebounds, and called a timeout with 41 seconds to play.
Out of the timeout, Westmont let the possession slip through their fingers, as Life Pacific caused a shot clock violation. With 19.2 seconds to play, the road team called timeout to draw up a potential game-winning shot. However, Westmont played lock-down defense, surrendering only an errant layup attempt that sent the game to overtime.
The clubs traded blows for the first few minutes of overtime, with the contest remaining a one possession game down to the final minute. Then, with 58.1 seconds to play, Life Pacific had possession and called timeout leading 78-76.
With 36.6 seconds to play, Westmont got a much-needed stop, and Jalen Townsell collected the rebound before being fouled. Townsell got both free throws to fall, tying the game at 78.
With 11.3 seconds to play, Life’s Austin Cook was fouled on a borderline travel. Regardless, Cook put the road team up 80-78 when he converted both free throws.
Then, with two seconds to play, Meithof pulled up to take a 3-pointer and could not get the shot to fall. After fouling Life Pacific, Ethan Galang missed the first of a one-and-one, giving the Warriors one final chance with 1.8 seconds.
Out of a timeout, the inbound pass was swatted away by the road club and never reached the hands of a Westmont player. The ball flew into no-man’s land as time expired, and Westmont once again was left with the bitter taste of a last-second defeat.
The club begins their final road trip of the regular season on Thursday, when they take on Menlo at 7:30 p.m.
On February 23, Westmont will play in the first round of the GSAC Tournament in Fullerton.