LOS ANGELES — After winning all five home games during their pre-conference slate, the Westmont men’s basketball (6-0) hit the road for the first time all season Saturday night.
The Warriors showed no signs of being homesick in their road contest, as they defeated Occidental (0-2) by a score of 89-70 in Los Angeles.
“Coach Josh Erickson put us in position to succeed with his scouting report,” said Westmont head coach Landon Boucher. “I thought our guys were really dialed in and motivated to finish off our preseason 6-0 going into next week.”
Freshman Nate Meithof continued to make headlines as he led the club with 22 points while shooting eight of 12 from the field. Right behind Meithof was senior captain Cade Roth, who poured in five 3-pointers en route to a 21 point performance.
“Nate was special tonight,” noted Boucher. “He was great offensively again, but tonight what stood out was a couple huge blocks in the second half, as well as his ability to rebound down the stretch. Nate played really good defense as well. He guarded their best player in man-to-man and held him at bay.
“Nate had an all-around great game and I was proud to see him do so many things to help us win.
“Cade is looking like he did at the end of the summer, after he put in a whole six months of work in Santa Barbara. His hard work is paying off and it is so nice for us to have another shooter on the perimeter when we have great attackers like Jared and Nate.”
Also in double figures for the Warriors was Ajay Singh with 17 points and Jared Brown with 15. Singh led the club with nine rebounds while Brown led the squad with six assists.
Overall, the Warriors shot 61.4% from the field (35-57) and outrebounded the Tigers 36-21.
In the first half, Westmont came out of the gate swinging, going on an 11-3 run to force Occidental to call their first timeout. A 3-pointer from Brown capped off a 10-5 run following the timeout to give the Warriors a 21-8 advantage, and the Tigers never pulled within less than seven for the remainder of the half.
Eventually, a converted three from Brown capped off a red-hot first half for the Warriors who went into the locker room with a 49-33 advantage after shooting 70.4% (19-27) from the field.
After a second half slump against La Sierra on Wednesday, the Warriors kept their heads down and maintained pressure on the opposition on Saturday night. Thirteen of Meithof’s 22 points came in the second half of action, while the Warriors outscored the Tigers 40-37 to not only maintain, but slightly widen their lead.
“I think more than anything, our guys learned from their mistakes on Wednesday,” explained Boucher. “It was unfortunate that it happened then, but it propelled us to have a strong finish tonight. Rather than just being happy about the win, we critiqued our performance and learned from it. That awareness showed on the court tonight.”
Westmont’s attention now turns to next Saturday night, when they will host The Master’s to open GSAC play. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available on the Westmont athletics website.
“I hope the Westmont community comes out and supports our guys,” said Boucher. “We’re going to need that home crowd, because The Master’s is a great team. I hope it’s a great environment for our guys to play in.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.