College Basketball : Depth Serves Occidental in Victory
Occidental College Coach Brian Newhall applied the Oxy 12 Friday night rather than the usual Oxy 5, getting extra strength from his bench and erasing any doubt as to whether the Tigers would get a chance to defend the title of their own basketball tournament.
The Tigers, whose only blemish on an otherwise-perfect record was a season-opening defeat to Christian Heritage, won their ninth in a row, defeating Christ College of Irvine, 106-58, in the opening round of the Occidental tournament.
Occidental will meet Grand Canyon tonight at 8 for the championship.
Grand Canyon, the defending (NAIA) champion, is coached by Bill Westphal, the Occidental mentor last year. Newhall doesn’t think that will give his club any added incentive.
“It don’t think it means anything extra,” Newhall said. “We don’t have anything to lose. Our players are fired up for it.”
Twelve Tigers got into the score book against Christ (4-9), led by 6-10 center Chris Anderson, who had 23 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.
Forward John Keister, the tournament MVP a year ago, added 20 points for Occidental, and Stephen Bertz (13 points), Brett Dennis (11) and Jeff Muir (10) also scored in double figures.
Only one Tiger failed to score, starting guard Jason Greenstein.
Occidental, which led, 45-30, at halftime, hit 11 of its first 13 shots in the second half to turn the game into a rout, allowing Newhall to substitute freely.
Albert Gay led Christ with 16 points.
In the other semifinal:
Grand Canyon 95, Southern California College 77--Craig Johnson, brother of Dennis Johnson of the Boston Celtics, scored 17 second-half points as the Antelopes (12-1) pulled away from the Vanguards (10-2) in the final 10 minutes.
Johnson, only 5-9, finished with a game-high 22 points and punctuated his total with 2 1-handed dunks in the final 5 minutes.
Blair Oliphant added 18 points for Grand Canyon, 13 in the second half.
Jeff Bickmore and Todd Dixon each had 21 points for Southern California College.
Eastern Montana 74, Cal Lutheran 55--A tenacious Yellowjacket defense held high-scoring Steve deLaveaga of Cal Lutheran to 12 points in the nonconference game at Eastern Montana College in Billings.
Although deLaveaga hit 67% of his shots, Eastern Montana did an excellent job of denying him the ball, limiting him to 9 attempts.
With Eastern Montana point guard Brian Herrell (4 points and 7 assists) holding deLaveaga to 4 points in the first half, the Yellowjackets took a 13-point lead at intermission, outscoring the Kingsmen, 25-11, to end the half.
Jeff Logsdon led Cal Lutheran (6-7), which dropped its third game in a row, with 15 points. Troy Truvillion and Pryor Orser each scored 16 points for Eastern Montana (11-2).
Cal State Northridge 78, East Texas State 73--Clutch free-throw shooting in the final 2 minutes by Bridgette Ealy and freshman Jill Brawner led the Lady Matadors to their second win in the 3-game swing through Texas.
Julie Arlotto scored a game-high 21 points and had 2 key steals down the stretch.
For CSUN (11-3), Ealy added 14 points and Chris Cavalin had 10. The game was tied, 33-33, at halftime.
San Luis Obispo 106, Cal Lutheran 72--Deborah Vettel scored a team-high 18 points and teammate Stephanie Rainwater came off the bench to tally 15 for San Luis Obispo in the nonconference game at San Luis Obispo.
Forwards Brenda Lee and Heidi Griffith scored 20 and 16, but it was not enough to prevent the Regals (2-6) from losing their 6th consecutive game.