Biola Stands Tall in Cutting Occidental Down to Size

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Occidental College Coach Brian Newhall has harped on his basketball team all season about honing the fundamentals of the game--like eliminating such shortcomings as excessive turnovers.

But while Newhall might have some control over his team’s grasp of the basics, there was nothing he could do about the problems they faced Friday at Biola.

Biola turned out a front line of 6-foot, 6-inch forward Kevin Hood, 6-7 forward Paul Horn and 6-9 center Ed Johansen--all transfers from Division I programs--to dwarf Occidental and help the Eagles post their eighth consecutive victory, an 88-77 nonconference decision.

“This was the first team that was bigger and stronger than we were,” Occidental’s John Keister said. “Usually I just release and (center) Chris Anderson gets the ball.”


But Keister, a 6-5 forward, and Anderson, a 6-10 center, did not go quietly. Keister scored a game-high 25 points and Anderson added 20. But 6-2 Brett Dennis, Occidental’s other forward, was held to just 4 points while Biola outrebounded the Tigers, 37-23.

Ironically, Biola cashed in on the height advantage at the one place where size doesn’t matter: the free-throw line. Because the Eagles passed inside on nearly every possession, Occidental defenders were forced to foul. And Biola made the most of its opportunities, converting 30 of 40 free-throw attempts.

Hood, a 1987 All-Big Sky selection at Montana who transferred to Biola last semester, presented big problems for Occidental. He scored 20 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Johansen, who transferred from UC Irvine last semester, finished with 15 points and Horn, who transferred from Mississippi, had 19.

Still, Hood was dissatisfied with his team’s play.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “We should have blown them out. There isn’t a team in this district that can face a team like us.”

The Eagles, who built a 5-point halftime lead, began to pull away about 10 minutes into the second half. Horn and Brandel Studevan combined for 6 free throws and Studevan buried a 15-foot shot from the baseline to increase the lead to 13, 62-49.

Trailing by 12, 75-63, Occidental (10-3) embarked on a 14-6 run with about 3 minutes to play. The surge was sparked by Jason Greenstein’s 3-point shot.

But Occidental was forced to foul down the stretch and Biola proved deadly at the line and cut short the Tigers’ belated comeback.