Defeated, but Not Losing Hope

Submitted by: Christy Cain - February 25th, 2015


NGO_3032[1]By Christy Cain

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) Tonight, the #20 Westmont men’s basketball team (19-9,11-4 GSAC) dropped a tough game against #4 Hope International University (25-2, 13-2 GSAC) in Murchison Gymnasium. It was one of those games where the cards were stacked against them, yet everyone was hoping for the best upset of the season. Unfortunately, when push came to shove, the Royals played the better hand and came out with the 75-62 victory.

“It really came down to the experience that Hope has,” explained head coach John Moore. “We have not had many games this season where we looked inexperienced or seemed like a team that was a little out of sorts. But tonight, they got to us.” The Warriors came out with fire in their eyes as they took the court tonight. In the first half alone, there were nine times when the score was tied and seven lead changes. Westmont was putting up a much deserved fight, but once Hope got on a roll, there was no looking back.

Hope’s defensive pressure seemingly sent the Warriors into overdrive, so they were unable to slow down and gain control of their play. Westmont went 19-57 from the field tonight (4-23 from the three point line). While they were making some hustle plays, the natural rhythm and flow of their game was off.  “Jeff Azain made a good point after the game when he said ‘It looked like our men had the weight of the world on your shoulders tonight.’ This game is supposed to be fun, but tonight it was tough,” reflected Moore.

“Defensively, we took away the players that we wanted to take away. We made specific players struggle, but a 25-2 team is 25-2 because of who shows up next for them. Talent runs deep on that team and they have many players with a lot of experience,” said Moore. “You have to give credit to Hope. They were a team that was hungry for their first conference championship and they got it tonight with this win. So credit to them. They played well and executed well.”

The Warriors rode on the shoulders of Daniel Carlin for the first half of the game. In the opening twenty minutes, he went 6-6 from the field, putting up 13 points and pulling down seven rebounds. In the second half, he slowed down a bit, but Cory Blau and Britton Williams rose to the occasion. Blau finished with a team high of 15 points and Williams was right behind him with 12 points and three steals.

While this is a disappointing loss, the Warriors have the opportunity for redemption this Saturday February 28 as they host Biola at 7:30 p.m.

“The Biola rivalry game is a great opportunity for us to play well. Biola has been playing quite well recently and it will definitely be a challenge. But after this loss, I am excited to get one in the win column on Saturday,” closed out John Moore. “We have won 12 out of the last 15 games coming into tonight. That is a real credit to this group of men. We are playing really great basketball as of late and it would be nice to get to 13-16 this weekend.

Hope International may have won tonight, but as the Westmont men close out conference games and enter into post season play, we have nothing but high hopes for them. There is still much to be done. Let’s not lose sight of that. It is time to finish strong.