Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotoghraphy.com
IRVINE, Calif. – The final score might read a 112-65 loss for the Whittier College Men's Basketball team to Division I UC Irvine but the Purple & Gold kept it close throughout only to see a late 40-8 run prove costly late in the second half.
Whittier has had a tough pre-season schedule and now drop to 1-4 and now open up Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play next Wednesday, December 6 as they take on the University of La Verne with game time set for 5:00pm.
Louis Kurihara (Culver City, Calif.) knocked down a triple on the Poets second time down the floor that gave WC an early 3-2 lead but it would be the only time the Poets would be out in front as UCI would go on an ensuing 10-0 run that moved the score to 12-3. Victor Nwaba (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Eric Davis (Ventura, Calif.) kept the Poets in it soon after both knocking down triples and Nwaba added a layup that cut the deficit to seven with 12:52 to play in the first half.
As UCI stretched their lead back to 14, Whittier continued to battle back closing within eight late in the half thanks to sophomore Joey Toyama (Pasadena, Calif.) who added a season high 12 points during the run, which included four straight three-pointers.
The Poets kept the pressure on with a lightning-quick pace to start the second half as Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) and Nwaba, who each also finished with double figures, helped WC score on five consecutive possessions in what was still a 14-point game.
After that though the Anteaters found their rhythm in the form of a 30-2 run over a 10-minute span that stretched the lead past 40, eventually rolling to the lopsided victory.
Whittier shot 32.4% from the field and 31% from deep. They forced 14 turnovers, which led to 10 points but were outmuscled inside losing the battle on the boards 54-29.
Nwaba finished with 13 points and was joined by Toyama and Potthoff, each adding 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Conner Longmire (Tarzana, Calif.) led the rebounding effort with four off the bench and Davis chipped in with seven points and four assists.