Bender’s double-double paces Westmont past Master’s

Not only did Blake Bender recorded his eighth double-double of the year in Westmont’s 68-64 win over the Mustangs of The Master’s College, but he led all players in both points and rebounds. Bender scored 23 points in the Golden State Athletic Conference game and pulled down 11 boards. He made seven of ten from the field and all nine of his free throw attempts.

With the win, Westmont improved to 12-4 overall and 4-3 in conference play. The Master’s falls to 8-9 overall and 1-6 in the GSAC.

In a tight first half, Westmont claimed an eight-point advantage on a three-point bucket by Matt Hornbuckle with 6:47 to play before intermission. By halftime, however, The Master’s had whittled Westmont’s lead away to produce a 33-all tie.

A 10-0 run to start the second half put the Warriors in the driver’s seat. However, with 7:15 remaining in regulation, the Mustangs’ Ronnie Dodd (6 points) knocked down a shot from beyond the arc to make it a one-point ball game (57-56).

Twenty-five seconds later, Landon Boucher did the same to restore a four point Warrior cushion. Joey Fuca (13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) made one of two free throws for the Master’s before Bender scored on a jumper to extend the lead to five (62-57). Fuca then scored on a jumper and Westmont’s Dan Rasp (11 points, 3 rebounds) followed suit with four minutes to go, making it a 64-59 game.

Nearly one and one half-minutes later, Nico Brooks stretched the margin to seven points with a layup. The next five points, however, belonged to the Mustangs who scored on two free throws from Fuca and a long-range bomb by Leif Karlberg (13 points). That made the score 66-64 with 1:44 left to play.

Bender added his final two free throws to make the score 68-64 with 1:09 left in regulation. The Master’s attempted five shots in the final 30 seconds but missed them all, allowing the Warriors to leave Bross Gymnasium with their fourth conference win and 12th win overall.

Preston Branson tallied 15 points in the victory while also contributing five rebounds and five assists. The Master’s was led in scoring by Anthony Cammon who scored 19 points.

The Warriors return to action on Saturday when they host San Diego Christian at Murchison Gymnasium. Tip-off time is set for 7:30 p.m.