Bender’s double-double sparks Westmont

Senior Blake Bender produced his sixth double-double of the season and Marcus Farrand nearly had his first, as Westmont picked up a 67-57 nonconference basketball win against Menlo College on Friday night in Murchison Gymnasium.

Bender scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Farrand finished with 10 points and nine boards for Westmont (8-3).

“I don’t think we have had two double-doubles in a game in a very long time and we were one rebound away it tonight,” said Westmont head coach John Moore about the inside duo. “It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but it is something we will feel better about each day we step away from it.”

Menlo led early, taking an 11-4 advantage on a jumper by Dejon Grant (5 points) just three and one-half minutes into the game. With 11 minutes left on the first half clock, the Oaks were still up by six (16-10). Over the next three minutes, however, the Warriors went on an 11-0 run to take the lead for good.

Niko Brooks (8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) started the run with a layup and Farrand followed suit. With just under 10 minutes remaining, Brooks struck from beyond the arc. It was the only three-pointer the Warriors would make in the game (out of six attempts) and it put Westmont up 17-16. Over a minute later, TJ Lipold (9 points, 3 steals) scored on layup and Bender did the same to make it a 21-16 game with eight minutes to play before intermission.

Westmont led throughout the second half, though twice Menlo reduced the margin to two points. The Warriors did not post a double-digit lead until the final 21 second of regulation.

“In the second half, we took away their leading scorer – Julian Harris. We made it a team effort to stop Harris who averages 20 points a game and had 10 at half time.”

Harris scored five points in the second half to tally a team high 15 points for the Oaks (2-8). Tim Tatum and Nick McCullar each contributed 10 points to Menlo’s totals.

The Warriors were without the services of leading scorers Dan Rasp and Preston Branson as well as point guard Brendan Hill. Rasp has missed the last three games with a sprained ankle while Branson has been out for two with a knee injury. Hill broke his thumb in practice and is expected to be out until the middle or end of January.