Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
LA VERNE, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Basketball team opened up Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play Wednesday night as they dominated the Leopards of the University of La Verne 92-66.
The Purple & Gold have now hit 90 points in three games this season as they improve to 2-4, 1-0 SCIAC. Tonight they showed it on both ends as they also held their opponent to under 70 points, which is the second time this season they have achieved this feat.
Whittier is averaging 84.7 points per game under first year Head Coach Mark Jensen but is also spreading the wealth as they are also averaging 13.5 assists per game.
It was a tight first half with the Poets holding a four-point advantage at the break but were able to pull away in the second outscoring ULV 54-32 en route to the lopsided victory.
Eric Davis (Ventura, Calif.) went off with a season high 20 points on 10-14 shooting, coupled with a double double of 11 boards, three assists, two steals and a block. Victor Nwaba (Los Angeles, Calif.) joined him with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go with five boards and two steals and Louis Kurihara (Culver City, Calif.) found his range with 16 points, which included two triples.
Off the bench, Conner Longmire (Tarzana, Calif.) added a double digit scoring effort with 15 points and added six rebounds and three assists, while Reggie Dixon (Oxnard, Calif.) chipped in with seven points in 12 minutes of action.
Whittier trailed in the early stages of the game seeing ULV go in front 13-8 at the 13:44 mark. The scoring went back and forth after that but with 7:58 to play in the half, the Leopards stretched their lead to 29-18 putting WC in a hole. Longmire stopped the run with a triple with 7:00 to play and Davis and Nwaba followed with jumpers to cut the deficit to six. Davis came up big with a layup capitalizing on a Leo turnovers and Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) came down on the Poets next possession nailing a dagger from deep that pulled the Purple & Gold within one.
The Poets continued to keep their foot on the throttle as Jacob Aruta (Stockton, Calif.) and Davis each knocked down jumpers dead-locking the game at 34-34. Kurihara gave the Poets their first lead soon after and Nwaba ended the half with a jumper as time expired moving the score to 38-34.
An 8-2 run by the Poets to start the second half gave them a 10-point advantage and they didn't look back as they put together 12-straight midway through that put the game away.
Whittier was hot shooting from the field with a 50% clip and turned the ball over a mere 11 times. They were outrebounded 48-39 but forced 24 Leo turnovers picking up 31 points off of them. WC also registered 50 points in the paint and held a lead as many as 28 late in the second half.
Whittier returns to non-conference action next weekend, December 16-17 as they travel to Daytona Beach, FL. There they will take part in the Daytona Beach Tournament.