Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Basketball team put together an impressive offensive performance Friday night in their season opener against Linfield College and despite putting up 98 points couldn't pull off the win as they fell 103-98.
There were a lot of positives from tonight's contest with Kenyatta Louder (Compton, Calif.) going off for 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting. He also added seven boards, three assists and a steal. He was also deadly from deep going 4-for-7.
Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) continued from where he left off from 2018 with a solid game as well pouring in 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds, an assist and a steal. Ahmad Young (Sunnyvale, Calif.) was in double figures off the bench with 13 points and Journey Shank (Burbank, Calif.) ran the point adding 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
It was a story of two halves for the Purple & Gold outscoring the Wildcats 57-45 in the first, before seeing it flipped in the 2nd with Linfield outscoring them 58-41 for the come from behind win. The Poets led by as many as 14 a minute into the second half but couldn't hold it as Linfield used a 9-for-18 effort from behind the arc in the second half to erase the deficit. Despite Potthoff putting up 16 points over the final 20:00 minutes it wouldn't be enough to top the Wildcats. It was a ten-point lead at the 17:10 mark following a free throw from Kyle Price (Rocklin, Calif.). But after that Linfield went on an 8-2 run that got them within four at 64-60.
Potthoff stretched the advantage back to seven with a triple, but again Linfield was able to weather the storm with an 8-2 run that made it a one-point game. The game got all tied up at the 10:08 mark following a Max Lommen triple and the game went back and forth from that point. An 8-0 run by the Wildcats with 4:40 to play put them on top 91-86. They then stretched it to seven following a pair of wide-open three pointers from Aaron Baune and Tanner Autencio.
Trailing 99-90 with a 1:15 to play Whittier made one final push with Potthoff adding a triple and Louder going a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe after getting fouled. This got Whittier within three at 99-96 but that's as close as they would get as a lay-up and a pair of free throws would seal the road victory for Linfield.
Whittier shot 50.7% from the field on the night and 39.3% from behind the arc. They did win the rebounding battle 34-30 but turned the ball over 20 times that led to 20 points for the Wildcats. The Poets were tough defensively forcing 22 turnovers and getting 27 points off of them. They also held a 40-30 advantage in the paint.
Whittier has a quick turnaround as they return tomorrow, Saturday, November 9 to host Texas-Dallas beginning at 3:00pm.