Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – Senior transfer Victor Nwaba (Los Angeles, Calif.) went off for 26 points Saturday afternoon but it wasn't enough to top the Gordon College Fighting Scots as the Whittier College Men's Basketball team fell 97-85 inside of the Graham Athletic Center.
The Purple & Gold wrap up 2017 with their third straight loss dropping to 3-8, 1-1 SCIAC, while Gordon improves to .500 at 5-5.
Whittier is averaging 86.4 points per game over their last five contests but went 1-4 during the span as they have given up 96.2 points per game to their opponents.
Coming into the contest the Poets were outsized inside with Gordon coming in with a front line of 6-11 (Parker Omslaer), 6-6 (Garrisson Duvivier), and 6-6 (Matt Valles) but came out tough with a 2-3 zone winning the rebounding effort 26-20 in the first half.
The Poets also came out hot on the offensive end putting together 13 unanswered with Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) and Louis Kurihara (Culver City, Calif.) going back-to-back from three-point territory followed by a pair of layins by Nwaba and an and one by Potthoff that moved the score to 13-5.
Whittier kept the momentum going until the 12:41 mark when the Fighting Scots tied things up at 19-19 after a 9-2 run but again WC was able to respond with nine in a row extending their advantage to eleven at 45-34 with under three minutes to play. At the 2:11 mark Gordon again came alive and put together one last push before the break outscoring the Purple & Gold 12-2 pulling within one at 47-46.
The second half remained tight throughout going back and forth. Gordon was able to get out of the gates quickly with a 7-1 run switching the momentum and giving them a lead 53-48. Kurihara was able to add a pair of free throws to pull WC within three and Nwaba was able to add a layup minutes later that put the Poets back on top 56-55 but again the Fighting Scots would connect from deep this time from Jake Haar moving the score to 58-56.
Four free throws midway through from Potthoff and Jacob Aruta (Stockton, Calif.) gave Whittier a two-point advantage but that lead would soon become non-existent as an ensuing 23-6 run by the Fighting Scots would swing the momentum and the differential to double digits at 81-66 with 7:15 to play. Whittier strung together eight in a row soon after to cut the deficit to nine but the hot shooting by Gordon down the stretch would secure the road victory.
Whittier shot 38% (30-79) from the field and a season low 18% from three point territory (6-34). They won the battle on the glass 46-42 but turned the ball over 16 times that led to 24 points by the Fighting Scots.
Nwaba along with his 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting added eight boards, four assists, and three steals. Potthoff had a big game with 19 points and seven boards and Aruta added eight playing 22 minutes.
Whittier returns to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play next Wednesday, December 3 when they travel to take on Cal Lutheran University beginning at 7:00pm.