Underdogs on the Rise

Submitted by: Christy Cain - December 3rd, 2014


blauBy Christy Cain

(COSTA MESA, Calif.) Sometimes the greatest joy of being on a team, is working together to accomplish things that other people may not have expected you to do. That was certainly the case as the Westmont men’s basketball team stepped on the court tonight and defeated #1 Vanguard 77-63.

“We just beat the reigning NAIA National Champions who has four returning starters from last year. That was a great win for us,” exclaimed head coach John Moore.

In their first Golden State Athletic Conference match-up of the year and a game where the odds were stacked against them, the Westmont men put on quite a performance to showcase what they are truly made of.

“Sometimes the ‘underdog’ way is the best way to go. When you are underrated, it gives you a little bit of an advantage” reflected John Moore. “Every disadvantage played in our direction: we were playing the defending National Champions, it was our first conference game, we had a bunch of young guys on the court and we were coming off of a road trip, while Vanguard played at home last Saturday.”

Considering that the Warriors held the lead for the entire 40 minute game, they sure did not look like underdogs tonight.  They contained the Lions to a 29% overall from the field and 7% from the three point line, which speaks volumes to the intense and tight defense that Westmont was running this evening.

“It was a great team win that was led by lots of people—it is hard to single out one or two. Britton Williams was brilliant in terms of how he set the tone for us. Nate Marsing made senior play after senior play and got some key shots in. Cory Blau was absolutely spectacular. To come up with 13 rebounds and go 13/14 from the free throw line is quite impressive” raved Moore.

In his first double-double of the season, Cory Blau blazed the trail tonight, tallying a game high of 19 points and 13 rebounds. Billy Keller and Sean Harman were right behind him with 12 and 11 points respectively.

“My assistant coaches, Jeff Azain and Rob Goodrow, put together everything that they could to prepare us for tonight. Jeff had the defense and Rob had the offense. We learned the Vanguard tendencies and we were able to map out the routes to take with them. Jeff Azain did a fantastic job working with our defense. Anytime you get a team on their home court shooting 29% in the field and 7% from the three point line, you know you’re doing something right. ”

“As Nate Marsing said in our post game team meeting, ‘we can’t sit with this one too long. We need to move forward and try to prepare for the next game.’ On Saturday with Concordia, we don’t want to give one back. We want to make sure that our men are as prepared for that game as we were for the one tonight” closed our Moore.

It may have been logical for #1 Vanguard to win this match-up tonight. Their history and reputation seemed to stack the odds in their favor. But this is not a math test. Basketball is a very different kind of test—one where determination seems to have a way of trumping logic.

Westmont (4-3, 1-0 GSAC) will host their first conference game of the season this Saturday at 7:30 pm as they take on Concordia (7-1, 1-0 GSAC) in Murchison Gymnasium.