Men’s Basketball recently took to the court to play in two different tournament in the span of two weeks. The first tournament was the Bruin Classic, which saw Whittier take on the host of the tournament, George Fox, for their first game. The games resulted in Whittier falling to George Fox 108 – 98, but saw second-year Guard Ahmad Young put up 26 points. “I felt like we played well in the Bruin Classic. We were playing the sixth-ranked team in the nation.” said third-year Forward Kenyatta Louder. “It is a learning experience, and I feel like it will translate [later on] in the season.” The Poets shot 41 percent behind the 3-point arc and 51 percent from field goal range. Whittier’s second game in the Bruin Classic was against Whitworth. Sadly, the Poets fell once more, losing 90 – 76; though third-year Forward Nick Potthoff was able to produce 21 points.
Whittier had a little more trouble shooting the ball against Whitworth, as they shot 40 percent from three-point range and 46 percent from field goal range. The following week, the Poets played their second and final tournament of the preseason, where they hosted Rhodes College at the Purple and Gold Poet Classic. The Poets were able to blaze past Rhodes in their second win this month as they took it 94 – 56, with the Poets bench helping the starters by putting up 49 points. “We are very versatile – not only the starters, but we have a really have a great team,” said Louder. “One player that stood out to me was Nick Colosi, who came out and scored within [his first] five minutes.”
The Poets were able to bring their shooting percent up as the team shot 52 percent from field goal range and 63 percent from the free throw line.
The Poet’s second game of this tournament was against Puget Sound College, which was a very close game all the way through, but ultimately saw the Poets lose in a 89 – 85 thriller. “[We need to improve on] closing out games. If we could do that, I feel like we would be hard to beat,” said Louder. “We put ourselves ahead of teams, and then we ended up letting go of the gas.” After losing two games in the second half, Poets need to strengthen their defense to go far in the SCIAC Conference.
“We still have to work on our the defensive end of the floor,” said second-year Guard Journey Shank. “We have to focus on us as a team on the defensive end. We all could score the rock.” Fourth-year Forward Conner Longmire led the team with 21 points off the bench, and Whittier as a team improved their three-point shooting as it was a 56 percent from beyond the arc, as well as shooting 63 percent from the free throw line.
Looking ahead at the rest of the season, the team has made it their goal to make a run at the SCIAC Conference. “We definitely look forward to winning conference. I think we could do it this year. I feel with this team we have here, including our bench, we’re going to be really tough once we get that defense and closing out games,” said Louder. “Our main goal is to win conference and make the tournament and make a long run and try to win the championship. We are not selling ourselves short, — we are capable of doing that.” Whittier’s next few games will be on the road on Friday Nov. 30 and Sat Dec. 1 against the Colorado College Tigers and Johnson & Wales University at Colorado. Getting away from the Southern California weather for the weekend, the Poets will be back for their next home game on Dec. 8 when they host the Johnson and Wales University Wildcats.