FULLERTON — After winning a couple games in the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament this week, the Westmont men’s basketball team saw its run come to an end on Friday night in Fullerton. The Warriors ultimately ran into an OUAZ ball club playing their best basketball of the season, as the Spirit eliminated the Warriors by a score of 95-76.
“OUAZ is a great team who will be a tough out in the national tournament,” said Westmont head coach Landon Boucher. “It was a difficult task to play them just 24 hours after an all-out war with ACU. I’m proud of our guys who battled all game long.
“Ultimately, we didn’t have enough in the tank to get the job done.”
At times, the Spirit couldn’t miss as they ultimately made 33 of 57 shots from the field (57.9%). OUAZ made eight of 17 shots from beyond the arc, and a huge difference in the game was their ability to get to the free throw line.
OUAZ, who came in as the best free throw shooting team in the conference, got to the line 24 times on Friday and made 21 of the attempts show up on the scoreboard.
On the other end of the court, Westmont shot 44.4% from the field (28-63). Westmont drained 11 threes, but got to the line only 13 times on the night, making nine of their shots from the charity stripe.
Westmont also committed 16 turnovers, which led to 21 points for OUAZ.
The Spirit opened up the game on a 12-5 run over the first five minutes, which was ultimately a sign of things to come. Early on, however, Westmont responded with consecutive 3-pointers from Jared Brown and Cade Roth to cut the deficit to one.
With 11:02 to play in the first half, a three from Sebastian Reynoso gave Westmont an 18-15 advantage, their first and only lead of the night. A minute later, Keshawn Bruner, who had a game-high 26 points for the Spirit, put his club up for good with a layup.
Following Reynoso’s three, the Spirit outscored Westmont 32-17 over the final 11 minutes of the first half, giving the Spirit a 12-point advantage at halftime.
Then, over the first six minutes of the second half, OUAZ put away the game for good. The Spirit held the Warriors scoreless for exactly six minutes into the final period, with Westmont not getting back on the board until the 14:00 minute mark.
By the time Westmont scored in the second half, the Spirit led by 24. OUAZ’s biggest lead of the night stretched out to 28 points, and while the Warriors got their offense rolling late, the deficit was insurmountable.
In the end, Westmont fell by a final score of 95-76.
“I think this year’s adversity will be a huge factor for the returners as we learn and grow from this years’ experience,” said Westmont head coach Landon Boucher.
GSAC Freshman of the Year Nate Meithof led Westmont with 25 points, while Jared Brown contributed with 17 points. Ajay Singh, playing in his final game as a Warrior, scored 13 points.
The Warriors will return to action later this fall.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.