Westmont Men’s Basketball (10-5, 3-3) opened 2023 with a momentum-building win on Thursday night in Rocklin. Against the William Jessup Warriors (10-6, 4-2), the Westmont Warriors snapped a four-game GSAC losing streak with a 92-85 win on the road. In doing so, Westmont became the first team this season to defeat Jessup in their home gym.
“We came through a stretch where we were dropping games, and it was brutal,” said Westmont head coach Landon Boucher, “and after that Vanguard game we vowed to each other that we had to get better. Not only does it feel good to get back in the win column, but it feels good to have left tonight knowing that we got better tonight.”
Anthony McIntyre led a red-hot Westmont offense with 23 points, while Cade Roth was clutch as well with 17 points. Overall, Westmont had five scorers in double-figures as Cly Griffith Jr. finished with 16, Tone Patton Sr. finished with 13, and Amir Davis finished with 10.
“Anthony McIntyre was humongous tonight,” noted Boucher. “Of course you see it in the point column, but also in his rebounding and defense, he was everywhere tonight, and it was great to see him have a complete game.”
As a team, the road-Warriors finished the day with a clip of 54.5% from the field (30-55), while making nine of 20 shots from beyond the arc. Thanks for their consistent offense, Westmont trailed for only 23 seconds in the first half, before claiming the lead for good minutes into the night.
During the first half of action, Westmont played some of their best offensive basketball of the GSAC season. After the first 20 minutes of action, Westmont had shot 17 of 25 from the field (68%), which included a trio of makes from beyond the arc.
Westmont also took advantage at the charity stripe, where the team converted on 10 of 13 free throws. Leading the charge was Patton, who made his first four shots and scored a game-high 12 points during the first half. Roth and Patton opened the game by draining back-to-back 3-pointers, allowing Westmont to gather their collective confidence immediately.
“For Tone to have a game like he did was huge,” offered Boucher. “He is such a key presence inside for us, and that presence does so much for our offense. Tone held it down underneath.”
Also making a noticeable impact in the half was McIntyre, who initially left the game following an awkward fall in the first minute of action. However, McIntyre checked back in with 12:30 remaining in the half, and immediately scored five points to give Westmont a 24-15 lead.
With 7:00 left in the half Amir Davis collected a basket that put Westmont up 33-23, and a minute later, a layup from Patton stretched the lead to half-high 37-23. Westmont forced Jessup to commit nine turnovers in the half, but when the home team hung on to the ball, they were just as formidable offensively as Westmont had been.
By half’s end, Jessup’s shooting percentage crept up to 55.6% (15-27), allowing the home team to cut Westmont’s lead to single digits by intermission (47-39.) At the beginning of the second half, however, Westmont returned with their heaviest punch of the night.
At the 17:00 mark, Patton rejected an attempted layup from Jessup before finding Davis for a layup on the other end. Davis’ layup capped off a 10-0 run by Westmont to open the half, allowing the club to stretch their lead to 57-41.
Minutes later, threes from Roth, Drew Ramirez, and a pair from McIntyre gave Westmont their largest lead of the night at 75-56. With a near-20-point advantage, the final ten minutes of the contest was all about holding off Jessup. A pair of free throws from Griffith put Westmont up 77-59 with 9:38 to play, but following the free shots, Westmont didn’t score again for nearly four minutes.
By the time McIntyre ended the drought with a basket, Jessup had trimmed the deficit to 10 with 4:45 to play. Then, with 4:05 to play, Roth hit what felt like a dagger when he converted his third 3-pointer of the night. Roth’s triple put Westmont up 82-70, allowing them to breathe easier for a handful of moments.
While Jessup cut the deficit to single digits in the final minutes, they did not threaten soon enough before having to send Westmont to the free throw line. From there, the road-Warriors put the game away and got back to .500 in GSAC play.
“I thought this game said a lot about our mental toughness,” said Boucher. “On the road, some tough calls, and a couple guys foul out, it had the recipe to be one of those tough nights. Instead, we saw a ton of mental toughness through our free throw shooting.
“I can’t applaud Cly enough. I thought he was nails down the stretch, and overall, he had a really nice game. Kyler Warren and Zeke Viuhkola each gave us 10 minutes off the bench as well, and I thought they really impacted us in a positive way.
“We also had a collection of guys who did well covering their two All-Americans. Drew, Cade, and Amir had to spend a lot guarding those guys, and it was just a great collective effort to go get it done.”
“Coming away from this one is motivating, but at the same time, we have to put it behind us. Menlo is a really good team and now it’s time to go ready for that one.
Westmont is right back at it on Saturday afternoon, when they take on the Menlo Oaks at 2:00 p.m. in San Bruno. Due to a wrestling tournament in Menlo’s home gym, the Warriors and the Oaks will tip-off from Skyline Community College, before Westmont returns to Santa Barbara next week.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.