By JACOB NORLING
WESTMONT SPORTS WRITER
The Westmont men’s basketball team (5-0) rode a hot first half to its fifth straight win Wednesday night, defeating La Sierra (1-2) 96-80.
The Warriors sank 12, 3-pointers in the first half, carrying nearly a 30-point lead into halftime, before coasting to victory in the second half.
“When our team decides to move the ball,” said Westmont head coach Landon Boucher, “our offense is really good. When we are locked in and on the same page, we can go on runs that don’t end for an extended stretch, like we saw tonight.
“Every single time we play, we’re seeing our offense get more in rhythm.”
Nate Meithof led the way with 28 points, while Cade Roth and Jared Brown added 23 and 15 respectively. On the boards for Westmont, Brown and Ajay Singh both collected a team-high six rebounds, while Meithof led the club with five assists.
As a team, Westmont shot 53.7% from the field and converted 18, 3-pointers.
“Nate led the brigade,” said Boucher. “Nate let the game come to him, especially in the first handful of minutes. He was getting everyone involved, and as the half went on, he took the game over.
“He did it in a number of ways, too. He was finding his teammates, he was making tough shots, and he was defending hard. It says he had five assists, but I’m telling you he had a ton of hockey-assists too. He made so many great passes to find an open man who immediately found another man for an easy look. Tonight, Nate was probably directly involved in more than fifty of our points.”
The Warriors had it going from the start, opening up the game on a 13-4 run going into the first timeout. At that point, just four minutes in, Westmont was already four of four from beyond the arc.
At the halfway point in the first half, the Warriors had shot eight of 11 from three-point range en route to building a 29-19 advantage. Two minutes later, Roth’s fourth 3-pointer of the night stretched Westmont’s lead to 36-20.
Westmont followed up Roth’s 3-pointer with a 16-2 run, led by a 10-point surge from Meithof, and ultimately carried a 59-31 lead into halftime.
“Scoring wise, Cade is still getting his feet under him after so much time off,” said Boucher, “but tonight, to see him shoot eight of nine from the field and seven of eight from three is great. Our guys found him open and gave him a lot of opportunities to knock down some wide open threes.”
With 11:53 left to play, Jalen Townsell intercepted a La Sierra pass and took it the other way himself, throwing down a dunk that brought the home crowd to its feet. The dunk resulted in a technical foul as the referee contested that Townsell hung on the rim too long, but no one in Murchison Gym minded as the Warriors led 79-51.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.