Westmont College’s big comeback from a 16-point deficit fell just short as it lost to Saint Katherine, 86-81, at Murchison Gym on Tuesday in its first men’s basketball game in more than five weeks.
The Warriors rallied to within 82-81 on Jared Brown’s two free throws with 20 seconds remaining. Darius Jackson, however, sealed the win for Saint Katherine with four foul shots in the final 18 seconds.
Westmont (0-2) hadn’t played since a Dec. 20 exhibition game against Pacific. The rust showed in its three-point percentage of 26.6% (7-of-26). It shot 42.2% overall. The Firebirds (2-0), who have played 10 exhibition games including a Jan. 12 contest at UNLV, shot 49.2% overall and 38.5% from three (10-26).
Maurice Woods made a three-pointer to give Saint Katherine its biggest lead of 68-52 with 11:34 to go. He led all scorers with 28 points.
But Westmont rallied behind a pair of threes by Cade Roth and two others by Abram Carrasco to draw to within 82-75 with 1:54 remaining. Tyler Austin blocked a shot by Woods, leading to a fast-break layup by Ajay Singh, to further reduce the deficit to 82-79 with 1:02 left.
Singh led the Warriors with 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting. Carrasco added 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Brown also scored 14 while Austin chipped in with 11 points.
Brown nearly tied the game, but his runner lipped out while he was being fouled with 20 seconds to go. His two foul shots brought Westmont to within 82-81, but the Firebirds held onto their lead the entire game.
The two teams will play again at Westmont today at 4 p.m. Spectators will not be admitted because of COVID-19 protocol.