ATHERTON — The Westmont men’s basketball team (14-13, 4-13 GSAC) overcame a 17-point deficit in the first half, but Menlo (15-11, 7-10 GSAC) rebuilt their lead in the second, ultimately beating the Warriors 84-70 Thursday in Atherton.
The Oaks refused to cool down from beyond the arc in the second half, hitting six of nine from three-point range as they put the game out of reach. Overall, the Oaks sank 10 of 19 from three-point range.
After Jalen Townsell drained a 3-pointer with 14:06 remaining in the first half, Westmont found themselves in an early 10-10 tie with the Oaks. Then, the Oaks threw a game-changing punch at the Warriors, going on a 13-0 run over the next four minutes of play.
A layup from Tyler Austin put a pause on the run momentarily, but with 8:03 left in the half, a 3-pointer from Adam Orr gave Menlo a half-high 17 point lead at 31-14. The Oaks went on a 21-4 run during the six-minute span.
Then, with 7:44 left to play, Nate Meithof converted on a layup attempt and woke up a Westmont offense that proceeded to go on a 9-0 run to get back within single digits. Menlo at one point went back up by 11, but a three from Jared Brown got the Warriors back within single digits, where they would stay for the remainder of the half.
Cly Griffith Jr. hit a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds to pull Westmont back within four, before the Oaks made one last basket ahead of the halftime buzzer. Regardless of the final basket, the Warriors went into halftime trailing by just six (42-36) after being down by nearly 20.
The Oaks shot 53% from the field (16-30) in the first half, while Westmont shot only 37.9% (11-29). At the break, Menlo had scored 12 points off of seven Westmont turnovers.
Westmont came out strong to start the second half, quickly tying the contest at 44 following threes from Brown and Townsell followed by a bucket from Griffith. Going into the first timeout of the half, with 15:51 remaining, the game was tied at 46.
Westmont went four minutes without scoring, two minutes before the timeout and two after, allowing the Oaks to build a six-point advantage. With under ten minutes to play, Westmont was still within six at 61-55. Then, the 3-pointers began falling for the Oaks.
On their next three possessions, Menlo hit a trio of backbreaking three-pointers, stretching their lead to 70-58 with an even eight minutes remaining. After taking a minute off, Menlo proceeded to hit two more threes, and found themselves with a 17 point lead for the second time on the night.
Down 80-63 with five minutes remaining, Westmont was unable to close the gap, and dropped their fourth consecutive contest.
Overall, the Oaks shot well all night, finishing at a 55.4% clip (31-56), while the Warriors shot 40.3% (25-62). Menlo’s bench outscored the Warriors’ 32-8.
Individually, Meithof led the club with 19 points, while Griffith contributed with 16 of his own. Brown and Townsell were also in double figures with 14 and 11points, respectively. Griffith led the team with four rebounds while Townsell led the club with eight boards.
Westmont’s regular season finale is on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. against William Jessup in Rocklin. The Warriors will play in the first round of the GSAC Tournament next Wednesday night in Fullerton.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.