Senior guard Mantas Drungys led a well-balanced Westmont attack with 15 points as nine of ten active Warriors scored Tuesday night in Irvine against #22 Concordia. Yet, the Warriors (14-7, 3-4 GSAC) didn’t assemble enough offensive production, eventually falling to the Eagles (17-6, 4-3) by a score of 73-67.
“We dwelled in the land of missed opportunities tonight,” uttered Westmont head coach John Moore. “The most disappointing thing of all was that the opportunity to win was right in front of us. We just didn’t grab ahold of it like we have been doing over the past three games.”
Although the men in maroon elevated their total shooting percentage to 41.1 percent by the contest’s finale, Westmont was rather ineffective from the field in the first half, scoring only 28 points by the intermission. However, the Warriors did manage to hold the Eagles to a 44.6 percent shooting performance, and found themselves only down five at the half.
However, Concordia exploded out of break, mounting a double-digit lead by the 15:49 mark of the second half. Nonetheless, over the following 13 minutes, Moore and company marshaled their men to a comeback. Westmont, determined to keep their winning streak alive, slowly chipped away at the deficit, and with 2:19 remaining, only trailed by two.
“The team did a fantastic job of coming back when we cut [Concordia’s] lead to two,” stated Moore. “However, we missed free throws and turned the ball over too many times in key situations. We also missed a ton of layups and various short shots tonight. When you fail to hit those types of shots, you’re going to have a hard time winning.”
Overall, Westmont was slightly outdone in a myriad of statistical categories. Concordia gathered four more assists, recorded five more steals, and turned the ball over five fewer times than did the Warriors.
Combined with their minute advantage in field goal percentage, Concordia also outperformed Westmont from three-point land (43.8 percent, 7-of-16 – 30 percent, 3-of-10) and from the charity stripe (76.2 percent, 16-of-21 – 66.7 percent, 17-of-25).
Once again, the Warriors cleaned up on the glass, outrebounding the Eagles 42 to 32. “We collected 17 offensive rebounds,” said Moore. “That in it of itself shows how great our energy was, particularly in the second half. We just didn’t get it done.”
Westmont has now outrebounded their opponents in 18 of 21 games this season, with an average positive margin of 10 boards.
At the midway point of GSAC play, Westmont sits in fourth place within the conference, tied with Arizona Christian and San Diego Christian. #9 Vanguard currently sits atop the conference throne at 7-0, with #18 Biola and Concordia tied for second at 4-3. Lastly, Hope International and The Master’s sit one game back of the Warriors at 2-5, occupying the seventh spot.
Westmont begins the second round of their GSAC schedule when they host San Diego Christian in Murchison Gymnasium this upcoming Saturday. That game features a tip off time of 7:30 p.m.