Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
ST. LOUIS, MO – The Whittier College men's basketball team completed the Lopata Classic with an impressive 93-81 victory over Wisconsin Lutheran moving their record to 3-2 on the season.
The Poets after being held to 72 points in Day 1 of the Lopata Classic against Washington University, which is their lowest total all season erupted for 91 points behind a strong team performance as five players scored in double figures.
Senior Greg Preer paced the Poets with 16 points on 6-13 shooting to go with four steals and four rebounds, while Nathaniel Easterman tallied his first double double of the season finishing with 14 points on 4-8 shooting to go with 10 boards.
Whittier shot an astounding 55% from the field on 38-69 shooting, and despite being outrebounded 41-40, the Poets scored 24 points off of 23 Wisconsin Lutheran turnovers that ended up being the turning point late in the game.
Willie Mebane who collected All-Tournament Honors finished with 14 points and ran the off guard position dishing out five assists, while collecting six rebounds, and grabbing four steals.
SCIAC leading scorer from 2009 Drew Menez finished with 14 points on 6-12 shooting and finished with six rebounds. Transfer point guard from Cal Baptist Kelly Johnson ran the point for the Poets and played strong minutes finishing with six points, while dishing out four assists.
Coming off the bench, senior Brandon Thomas sparked the Poets as he finished with 11 points to go along with four rebounds on 4-7 shooting, while junior Kenny Albritton came in to run the point and finished with six points and three assists.
In the first half, Whittier was down early 33-23 but made a run to get back into the game thanks to a layin by Albritton, a free throw from freshman Jacob Porter, a layup by Thomas, then back to back to back layups from Menez and Mebane to get within three at 35-34.
After a Wisconsin Lutheran turnover, Preer finished with a dunk on the other end and the Poets went on another run that was capped off by a dunk by sophomore Tyree Landrum who helped the Purple and Gold take their first lead of the contest and a lead into the half 48-42.
Coming out of the break Whittier extended their lead to 54-43 and continued to lay down their offensive presence as they held onto a fourteen point lead throughout the second half. Despite Wisconsin Lutheran getting within 12 that's as close as they would get as the Purple and Gold held on for the 12 point victory.
Whittier returns home from St. Louis tomorrow as they begin preparing to travel to Arizona to play Southwestern College on Saturday, December 10 beginning at 2pm. From there Whittier returns home to play five straight home contests against Widener, Illinois College, UC Santa Cruz, a team to be determined and Pacifica before starting SCIAC competition in January.
Dylan Richter (Washington U.) - MVP
Bryant Voiles (Augustana)
Brian DeSimone (Augustana)
Willie Mebane (Whittier)
Alex Merbach (Wisconsin Lutheran)
Brayden Teuscher (Washington U.)