MBK: Bentz plays big in Westmont win at Master’s

Sophomore Sam Bentz made the most of his first start for the Westmont basketball team. He scored eight points and played tough defense against GSAC leading scorer Russell Byrd, leading the Warriors to an 81-68 victory at The Master’s on Saturday night.

Bentz, Hayden Anderson and Nate Marsing combined to hold Byrd to 12 points, seven below his average. Byrd is a transfer from Michigan State.

“They all went up against Byrd, who is probably the most talented player in the conference right now,” said Westmont coach John Moore.

Bentz gave the Warriors a big lift.

“We decided to go with Sam tonight and it paid off,” Moore said. “I know everyone really enjoys playing with him. He is such an unselfish player who is willing to sacrifice for his team. Since Jared Wilson cannot play anymore this season, I think he is channeling his work ethic into Sam.”

Freshman Jerry Karczewski provided a boost for the Warriors. He knocked down 5 of 8 shots from 3-point range and scored 15 points in 23 minutes of play.

“He is a clutch player for us. He buried three huge three pointers for our team in the second half that allowed us to never give up the lead. He is really, really poised for a freshman,” said Moore.

Cory Blau had 14 points and Daniel Carlin scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The Warriors came out strong, opening up a 27-8 lead. They held off surges by The Master’s throughout the game.

“It was a gritty win,” said Moore. “We have had quite a few double figure leads this season where we have allowed opponents to come back. Tonight was tough because while we were ahead, the Masters did a nice job of closing the gap.”