Game-winner caps special night at Westmont

It was a big night for a small college and a big shot for a small point guard.

Chris “C.J.” Jackson had only one basket in 34 minutes of playing time Saturday night, and he waited until the last second to make it. The 5-foot-9 junior pulled up for a 10-foot jumper with 1.6 seconds left to lift the Westmont men’s basketball team to a 63-61 win over Cal State San Bernardino with legendary coach Chet Kammerer in the audience.

Kammerer, who coached the Warriors from 1975-1992 and amassed a 357-158 record with the program, was honored before the game with the dedication of Murchison Gym’s new floor, “Kammerer Court.”

“We knew it was a huge night, and I was just lucky enough to be able to make the last shot,” said Jackson.

Aside from an 11-2 Westmont run out of the gates, it was an extremely tight game throughout, with six points being the biggest lead taken by either team after the first five minutes. The Coyotes came into the series with a 4-1 record all-time against the Warriors, and they had a clear advantage in size over Westmont.

It was a gutsy scheduling move for such a night, and coach John Moore — Kammerer’s most prized recruit at the start of his tenure — felt a little bit of pressure.

“It was the kind of pressure you feel when you want to do something for someone you love dearly,” said Moore.

“I marked this one down, I said ‘you know what, that’s really a game that I’d like to come out victorious in,’ because I knew how special a night it was going to be.”

Sophomore Dan Rasp, whose image now looms over the court on a large banner in the recently renovated gym, had a dead-quiet 24 points to lead all scorers, going 12-for-14 from the charity stripe.

“Pretty much after every game I come off the court thinking that Dan scored about 10 points, but it’s always over 20… It’s amazing. I’ve never played with anyone like that,” said Jackson.

Matt LeDuc had a heroic two-minute span midway through the second half, taking two charges and scoring on a putback that put Westmont up 51-49 with 9:15 left. More than three minutes passed by without a basket, but Tyler Dutton hit a catch-and-shoot trey with 5:20 left to extend the lead to 54-49.

Coyote guard Devin Montgomery nailed one from downtown with 43 ticks left to pull the Coyotes within a basket at 61-59, and DuBois Williams was fouled after a Westmont turnover and hit both free throws to tie things up with 36.8 remaining.

Jackson let the clock run down to eight seconds before driving into the key and pulling up for the winner.

What a fitting ending to such an important night for Westmont College.

“Coach Moore makes a big point out of the importance of our past and what we represent,” said Dutton. “We’re not playing for just ourselves or just our fans or our coaches. We’re playing for all of the former players and Coach Kammerer and everybody that came before us.”



Many heartfelt things were said about Kammerer on Saturday, with many of his former players and assistants as well as his family there for his special night:

“No one has a better understanding of what it takes to win than this guy standing behind me right here. A great basketball mind who understood the game, understood how to manage people and how to teach them and get the best out of them.”

Randy Pfund, Kammerer’s longtime assistant at Westmont, who went on to coach with the Los Angeles Lakers before joining the Miami Heat organization with Kammerer, who is currently the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel.

“When I think of all of the coaches whom I’ve dealt with at the four or five institutions I’ve served, I can think of no one for whom I have a higher regard than Chet Kammerer.”

-David K. Winter, Westmont’s President Emeritus

“He taught me how to care a lot. He taught me how to care more than maybe I was willing to care on my own. He made me pull more out of myself than I would have if I played for any other coach. And when you pull more out of yourself, you realize what you’re really capable of achieving.”

-John Moore, Westmont Head Coach

“The heart of the program is not the coaches. The heart of the program is the players… And they are a very special group.”

Chet Kammerer