Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – For the second straight game the Whittier College Men's Basketball team fell unlucky as they dropped their first overtime game of the season 111-100 to the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz wrapping up the Mission Inn Tipoff Classic.
It again came down to the final possession of regulation as the Purple & Gold held a 91-88 advantage with 1:20 to play after a Louis Kurihara (Culver City, Calif.) three-pointer. UCSC was able to knock down 1-2 free throws soon after to cut the deficit to two and would then get one last opportunity with under :20 seconds to play following a missed dunk by Eric Davis (Ventura, Calif.). The Banana Slugs would get the defensive board and would take it down getting off two lay-ups inside but couldn't convert on either until Sam Gabbard hauled in the third offensive board putting in the equalizer, which forced the game into overtime.
In extra time it was all UCSC outscoring the Poets 20-9 giving them the home victory. Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) gave WC a chance knocking down a three-pointer putting them on top 94-93. Jalen Gilmore (Inglewood, Calif.) tied the game up a minute later but an ensuing 7-0 run by the Banana Slugs would open the game up creating a difficult deficit for the Purple & Gold.
After trailing by five at the break the Poets outscored UCSC 43-38 in the second. For the game there were 12 ties and 12 leads changes as it was a battle throughout. The Poets outshot the Banana Slugs 55% (33-60) to 44% (37-85) from the field and was at a 54% clip from behind the arc. But the story was rebounding as Whittier was outmuscled inside 52-29, while turning the ball over 19 times, which led to 23 points by UCSC.
Victor Nwaba (Los Angeles, Calif.) again led the Poets adding 27 points on 9-13 shooting along with a 5-6 effort from deep. Davis added 21 points, a season high with four boards, three assists, and two steals, and Kurihara chipped in with 15 going 5-8 from the field in 39 minutes of action.
Potthoff also added a double-digit scoring effort with 12 going 4-8 with three blocks and four boards. Gilmore came off the bench putting in 10 with five assists.
Whittier returns home this weekend following Thanksgiving on November 25 and 26 for the Purple & Gold Poet Classic. Saturday they take on UC Merced at 3:00pm and return Sunday at 7:00pm to host New Rochelle.