Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Basketball team ended 2018 and their non-conference schedule Saturday night inside of the Graham Athletic Center as they rolled UC Santa Cruz 88-74.
The Purple & Gold end their two-game losing streak as they improve to 3-8, 0-2 SCIAC, while the Banana Slugs drop their fourth in a row and seven of their last eight.
Whittier shot 49% from the field and 39% from three-point territory and saw four players land in double figures. Kenyatta Louder (Compton, Calif.) led the Poets with 19 points going 8-for-14 from the field with four boards. Ahmad Young (Sunnyvale, Calif.) added 18 points going 5-for-8 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line with three rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) was deadly from deep with all 12 of his points coming from behind the arc coupled with eight boards, an assist and two picks.
Off the bench Conner Longmire (Tarzana, Calif.) provided a spark with 13 points and seven rebounds to go with three dimes and Kyle Price (Rocklin, Calif.) and Joey Toyama (Pasadena, Calif.) each added eight points respectively. Price also added six boards and two blocks, while Toyama picked up a career high six assists.
The game included two ties and three lead changes, which all came in the early stages of the game, but overall WC controlled the tempo from start to finish. It was back and forth over the first three minutes until the Poets put together a 9-2 spurt capped off with a triple from Louder that made the score 14-9. The Banana Slugs stopped the run with a pair of free throws and a layin but soon after Whittier countered with five straight three-pointers from Potthoff, Toyama, Longmire, and Young that pushed the lead to double digits.
UCSC found their offense back with six in a row to pull within six but again WC countered with Nolan Black (Olympia, WA) adding back to back layins followed by a Young triple and layin that pushed the margin to 17.
Leading 45-32 at the break, Whittier kept the momentum going in the second increasing their lead to 28 midway through, while shooting 51% from the field and Louder pouring in 16 points. UCSC pushed back late with an 11-4 run but it wouldn't be enough to complete the comeback as they would fall on the road.
Whittier held UCSC to 41% shooting and a 19% clip from behind the arc. Whittier also won the battle on the boards 39-37 and points in the paint 36-34. They forced 14 UCSC turnovers and turned them into 21 points, while totaling 17 assists on the game.
Whittier returns to conference play in 2019 this Wednesday, January 2 when they host the University of La Verne beginning at 7:00pm.