The Westmont men’s basketball (11-4, 2-4 GSAC) dropped its first game of 2022 on Thursday night as the team fell to No. 8 William Jessup (17-1, 5-1) 76-71 in Montecito.
The game went down to the wire, with Westmont having a pair of chances to tie the game in the final 15 seconds, but the road-Warriors held on for their fifth conference win of the season.
“This one hurts because we took really good care of the ball tonight,” said Westmont head coach Landon Boucher. “We only had eight turnovers, but half of them were in the last 90 seconds of the game. Ultimately, that was what lost us the game.
“I’m proud of my guys, though. They really battled after being down 13 in the first half, and they chipped away all night long.”
Individually, Jared Brown led the Warriors with 19 points thanks to four field goals from beyond the arc. Cade Roth contributed with 12 points while finishing an assist shy of a triple-double as he recorded nine times and an even 10 rebounds.
Westmont kept William Jessup within a possession for the first seven minutes of the game, but over the next five minutes, a pair of 3-pointers sparked an 11-0 run for Jessup that saw the road club take a 24-11 lead with just over eight minutes to play in the half.
At the end of the run, Jessup’s Jordan Adams took a heavily contested three at the end of the shot clock, during a possession in which Westmont covered the opposition as well as they could have hoped. From more than 25 feet out however, Adams banked in a prayer as Jessup looked poised to possibly run away with things.
However, in the final four minutes of the half, Westmont cut into the deficit thanks to a clutch 3-pointer from Brown that highlighted a 7-0 run to make the score 31-27 at intermission.
William Jessup came out with the same formula in the second half, with four of their first-five field goals coming from beyond the arc. Westmont did not bow away from the challenge however as a three from Brown and a rare three from Kyler Warren allowed the club to trade punches with the visitors. Westmont trailed 45-43 with just under 14 minutes to play.
Later on, with 4:32 to play, Jessup’s Tarren Storey-Way converted on an and-one opportunity and Cashemin Williams followed up with a three-point play of his own to push the Jessup lead to 69-62 with just 3:43 to play.
With 2:07 left to play, Brown drained a 3-pointer to make it a one possession game at 72-69, and with 25 seconds left, a layup from Sebastian Reynoso made it a one point game.
After Williams converted a pair of free throws to make the score 74-71, Westmont was unable to cap off the comeback and instead put together two costly possessions at the end of the night.
On the ensuing inbound following Williams’ free throws, Jalen Townsell threw a pass beyond the reach of Cade Roth and into the hands of the road team, forcing the home-Warriors to foul Jessup again. Then, Westmont was granted one final life as Jessup missed the first of a one-and-one, and Westmont received the ball with 16 seconds to go.
Brown was the first Warrior to throw up a three-point attempt with 13 seconds to play. After Brown’s shot clanked off the rim, Roth secured the rebound. Then, with six seconds left on the clock, Roth’s three-point attempt was blocked and Jessup reclaimed possession, securing Westmont’s fate for the evening.
“There are some positives to take out of this game,” noted Boucher, “but we have to turn it around quickly and get ready for Saturday. We have to keep getting better as a staff because we are so close to winning games like these.
“Hope and Jessup are two top-ten caliber teams in the nation and we’re right there with them. It might not look that way in the win-loss column right now, but we are right there with them. There’s a lot of season left and we need to keep a positive mindset, but it’s time to get better.”
The club returns to the court today when it hosts Menlo at 2 p.m. in Murchison Gym. For updated information on ticket access and COVID-19 protocols, visit /athletics.westmont.edu.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.