Warriors turn to bench in GSAC win

The Westmont men’s basketball team benefited from 44 points off the bench in the Warriors 76- 57 Golden State Athletic Conference victory on Saturday night over San Diego Christian. Reserve guard Matthew Hornbuckle led the Warriors in scoring with 13 points while making three of four from three-point range and pulled down four rebounds.

With the win, Westmont improved to 13-4 overall and 5-3 in the Golden State Athletic Conference standings.

“I thought our bench played the best they have played all year,” said Westmont head coach John Moore. “Our starters struggled at the beginning of the game. Landon Boucher, Marcus Farrand, Matt Hornbuckle, Jordan Sachs and CJ Miller all came in and did some very nice things while substituting for our starters. We needed that. We went down 8-2 and those guys came in a got us the lead back. Then our starters came back in and got us a nine-point lead at halftime (34-25).”

Sachs (9 points, 5 rebounds) made it an 8-4 game with two free throws before the Hawks took their biggest advantage of the night (11-4) on a three-pointer by Aaron Felix.

Back-to-back threes by Boucher (8 points) and Hornbuckle cut the Hawk’s advantage by six before Farrand (7 points, 6 rebounds) scored on a jumper in the paint to put the Warriors up 12-11 with 11:14 remaining in the first half.

The Hawks’ Jason Starr (9 points, 4 rebounds) scored on two free-throws to give San Diego Christian its last lead of the night. A long-range bomb by Bender, a jumper by Rasp (11 points, 3 assists) and a three-point bucket by Sachs put Westmont up 20-13 as the Warriors begin to take control of the game.

Bender recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“Blake had a super game,” said Moore. “He held the senior mantle and the captain mantle very well.”

The Warriors won the battle of the boards 40-30 and forced 15 turnovers while committing just eight. The Warriors had five blocks with Farrand and CJ Miller (4 points, 2 rebounds), each accounting for two.

Westmont returns to action on Tuesday to host the Hawks of Fresno Pacific (12-5, 5-3 GSAC) with whom they are tied for fourth place in the GSAC standings.

“We want to get as well prepared for Fresno Pacific as we can,” said Moore. “Fresno could have very easily beaten UCSB on New Year’s Eve. A crazy shot by one of UCSB’s players put it into overtime.

“Fresno Pacific is very hard to play against,” continued the coach. “They are incredibly talented. They have a young 28-year-old coach (Chris Wright) who is doing a magnificent job. That game is such a crucial job because it is a home game and because it will be a game that determines if we are able to stay in the upper echelon of league play.”

The Warriors and Sunbirds will tip off at 7:30 p.m. in Murchison Gymnasium.