Westmont has a tough night at Fresno Pacific

Fresno Pacific controlled the game from start to finish on Tuesday night and handed Westmont a 75-58 GSAC men’s basketball loss in Fresno.

Dan Rasp was the only Warrior to score in double figures, tallying 12 points and four rebounds. Blake Bender contributed nine points and 10 rebounds.

“They were very tough minded,” said Westmont head coach John Moore of the Sunbirds. “The way we shot around in practice yesterday, I thought we were well prepared. But it is hard to be prepared for athleticism. Tonight, they played like the most athletic team in our league.”

The Sunbirds jumped out to a 7-0 start before the Warriors scored the next six to make it a 7-6 game with 13:35 remaining in the first half. However, the Sunbirds scored the next nine points and Westmont would get no closer than four the rest of the game.

With 1:44 to play in the opening frame, Casper Hesseldal (16 points, 7 rebounds) sank two free throws to give the Sunbirds a double-digit advantage (29-19). Westmont did not come within single digits the remainder of the game.

With Tuesday’s win, the Sunbirds have secured the number five seed in the conference’s postseason bracket while Westmont is assured of a number four seed.

The two teams will meet again on March 3 in the first round of the GSAC Tournament at Westmont.

“Next time around we will execute better and play an all-around better game,” predicted Moore. “When this one got away from us, we didn’t respond very well.”

Before that first-round game, Westmont will have an opportunity to make a statement to the national raters by hosting No. 3 Concordia in the final game of the regular season on Saturday night.

“We have to treat (the game with Concordia) like a national tournament game,” said Moore. “It will be senior night, we will be focused and I expect us to play well.”