Following three straight losses to initiate Golden State Athletic Conference play, Westmont head coach John Moore, in the pursuit of enhanced leadership and productivity, revealed a senior-studded lineup Saturday night in Fullerton for the Warriors' road contest with 19th ranked Hope International.
For Westmont Men's Basketball (12-6, 1-3 GSAC), Moore's modification proved tremendously valuable, as it propelled the Warriors to their first GSAC win of the season.
Of Westmont's 75 points, 59; or 78.6 percent – were provided by the team's five seniors. Forward C.J. Miller led all scorers with a game-high 20 points (8 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block), in route to a 75-61 victory over the Royals (14-5, 2-2).
"We played like the great Warrior squads of the past," declared Moore. "We also looked like and performed like the reigning GSAC champs. I honestly can't recollect many times that I have been more proud of one of my teams than I am tonight."
Along with Miller, seniors Mantas Drungys (11 points – 8-of-10 free throws – 3 rebounds, 1 steal), Marcus Farrand (10 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block), Brendan Hill (7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) and Jason Ritchey (11 points, 4 rebounds) championed the team to spectacular percentages from both beyond the three-point line – 45.5 percent, 5-of-11 – and the charity stripe – 81.5 percent, 22-of-27.
Farrand, who has only played in half of the Warriors' 18 games due to injury, recorded his first double-double of the season.
"In only the second start of his career, Marcus played phenomenally," exclaimed Moore. "He executed like man possessed and literally put the team on his back. He scored our first four points to get the game going, and provided outstanding defense throughout. This is a guy who is still getting into shape after two knee surgeries, so I am extremely proud of him."
Furthermore, the men in maroon curtailed the Royal's offensive output significantly. Through their first 18 games, HIU had averaged 76.1 points per game, via a 44.9 shooting percentage. Tonight, the Warriors decreased the Royal's scoring output by 20 percent, and trimmed their shooting percentage down to 37.5 percent.
Westmont also recorded eight steals, five blocks, forced 12 turnovers and outrebounded their opponent again; this time to a tune of 42-29.
Another notable performance came from junior Daniel Carlin. The native of Australia delivered an essential bench presence with his nine points, six rebounds, and three blocks.
"We played remarkable team defense tonight," stated Moore. "[HIU] is a great shooting team, and we produced a fantastic team effort to limit their offense. Given that this victory was on the road against a ranked team, with one of the best coaches I know at the helm, I couldn't have asked for more from our men."
With momentum at their backs, the Warriors look to climb the conference rankings with a potential win over The Master's on Tuesday. That game is at home inside Murchison Gymnasium and holds a tip off time of 7:30 p.m.