Mens Basketball

Menlo 81, Hope International 77

Date of competition: Saturday, January 26, 2019

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By Ryan Barnett

If the Menlo College men's basketball team ever needed an upset victory, it could not have chosen a better day. The Oaks downed 19th-ranked Hope International, 81-77, on Saturday in Golden State Athletic League action, shooting 55 percent from the field. The Oaks improve to 8-11, 4-6 while the Royals fall to 15-6, 6-3.

Strong Second
Both teams came out a bit sluggish in the first half but the offenses exploded in the second half. Menlo put up 50 points to help gain a 12-point lead with 4:10 to go. Over a five-minute span, the Oaks went on an 18-7 run to take the 12-point edge, and their 3-point shooting came alive. Jeremiah Testa began the run with a three, and N'Jai LeBlanc followed with one of his own. Testa came back with another three and the Oaks were in complete control.

Offensive Fireworks
Both the Oaks and the Royals ran at peak efficiency, shooting over 50 percent from the field and each had four players in double digits. For the Oaks, Charles Neal led the way with 22 points, followed by Henry Cornelious with 19, Testa with 13, and John Paine with 11. For the Royals, Eric Toles and Charles Toles both scored 18 points.

Success at Darling Pavilion
The Oaks may only have two wins in program history over the Royals, but both have come on the road at Darling Pavilion. The Oaks upset the then-ninth ranked Royals on the road a year ago on Neal's first career double-double.

A Look at the Standings
The Oaks pulled to within a game of Arizona Christian in the GSAC. If the Oaks could pass the Firestorm, they would find themselves in playoff position, as the six seed. The Oaks are definitely choosing the right time to surge in conference play.

Up Next
Menlo will return to Haynes-Prim to take on the 5th-ranked Master's University Mustangs. The Oaks put up a good fight vs the Mustangs in Santa Clarita earlier this season, falling 77-91. Tip off is set for 7 pm on Thursday.

posted by Rick Eymer on Jan 27, 2019 at 12:02 am

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