MBK: Warriors romp to fifth straight win

Five Warriors reached double-digits in the scoring column as Westmont Men’s Basketball (6-2) made it five straight victories with their Friday night 90-61 win over the Flames of Bethesda University (1-8).

All but two of Westmont’s active roster recorded at least one basket, with Redshirt freshman guard Billy Keller (17 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) leading all scorers. “Billy was really special tonight,” admired Westmont head coach John Moore. “He received a huge boost of confidence from Tuesday’s game-winning shot.”

The Warriors opened the game with fervor on defense, holding the Flames scoreless until the 13:45 mark of the first half. During their run, Westmont mounted an early double-digit lead (12-2), pestering Bethesda and forcing 1-for-11 shooting.

Regardless of their initial advantage, Westmont was rather inept on offense over the course of the opening half as well. The Warriors only converted on 10 of 32 field goal attempts (31.3 percent), going 2-for-12 (16.7 percent) from three-point land. Even with their struggles, Westmont found themselves up eight at the half – 30-22.

The second half served as a stark contrast as the Warriors placed 30 points on the scoreboard in the first (and latter) 10 minutes of the period. Propelled by a much improved shooting percentage (66.7 percent, 22-for-33; 69.2 percent, 9-for-13 from three), Westmont quickly expanded their halftime advantage.

Much similar to how the game opened, Westmont fashioned another substantial run (14-2) to kick off the second half. Three-pointers from Keller and senior forward C.J. Miller (11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks) got the Warriors going, with junior center Daniel Carlin (6 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks) and senior forward Jason Ritchey (7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) adding to the mix early.

“Our defense to start both halves was great,” commented Moore. “You can always talk about the offense because we scored a lot. However, we held (Bethesda) to very few points, and before we knew it, it went from an eight point lead, to a 23 point lead.”

With three-fourths of the contest completed, the Warriors advantage had grown to 25 by way of a 62-37 score line. Then, a barrage of three-point baskets by junior guard Kyle Gordon (12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three, 4 rebounds) lit up the scoreboard (all but one of which came in the second half), pushing the score to 75-48 in favor of Westmont.

“We finally got Kyle back,” said a smiling Moore. “His goals for tonight were to get two offensive rebounds – he got three – and to knock down a three – he had four. He didn’t turn the ball over and he shot the way that he is capable of shooting. He set high standards for himself and he surpassed them.”

Guards Mantas Drungys (10 points, 2 rebounds), a senior, and Nate Marsing (11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists), a junior, provided additional scoring. Guards Brendan Hill (5 rebounds, 4 assists), a senior, and Jared Wilson (5 points, 3 steals), a junior, each contributed mightily as well.

“Nate played well, as did most of our reserves,” affirmed Moore. “It was fun to see them do a lot of good things.”

Overall, Westmont compiled 22 assists, opposed to just nine turnovers. The team also logged 13 steals and forced the Flames to turn the ball over 17 times. The Warriors also outrebounded Bethesda by 12 – 44 to 32.

“That’s been pleasing to see,” said Moore in reference to the Warriors consistently outrebounding their opponents. “Having 19 offensive rebounds is always a great sign. Additionally, turning the ball over less than 10 times and recording 20 or more assists were two of our goals, so it was a great victory for us.”

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