Mens Basketball

Menlo 97, Westmont 91

Date of competition: Saturday, February 2, 2019

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The way things have been going lately for the Menlo College men's basketball team, highlight-caliber moments are routine. Saturday night was no exception as the Oaks performed their best with their backs against the wall. The Oaks took on Westmont, a team the Oaks had only beaten once in 13 tries, dramatically forced overtime and eventually won 97-91. Menlo (10-11, 6-6) won its fourth straight and the Warriors fall to 13-7 (7-5).

Give Me Some of That, Chuckie Neal
After hitting a long-range three-pointer at the end of the first half on Thursday night, one had to know the Oaks would give Charles Neal another chance with the game on the line. Neal made it 77-74 Westmont with a 3-pointer and one minute left and then he got the ball on an inbound pass with 1.5 seconds on the clockwith the Oaks down, 80-77. He turned around, and with two Westmont players in his face, lofted a 3-pointer that went through the rim as the horn sounded, and Haynes-Prim Pavilion erupted.

Overtime Shooting
The Oaks faltered to start overtime but Jeremiah Testa helped set Menlo in the right direction. He nailed a corner 3, Menlo's first points of the extra session, to tie the game at 83-83. On the next possession, Testa stood in the same spot on the floor, took a pass from N'Jai LeBlanc, and knocked down another corner 3 to put Menlo ahead for good at 86-83. Interestingly, the Oaks added 11 more points, all from the free throw line.

Making It Close
Menlo received several large performances and a few unsung heroes came to life with about seven minutes left in regulation. Corey Le'Aupepe scored seven points with six rebounds, and his layup at 7:51 made it 63-60, trimming Menlo's deficit to three. After a John Paine layup, Ross William showed up with a defensive rebound and took the ball coast-to-coast and finished with a finger roll to give Menlo a 64-63 lead, setting up the dramatic finish.

Those Large Performances
Three Oaks reached double-figures, led by 26 from Paine, who added rebounds and three assists. Neal had 24 points and Testa added 18, to go with three steals. LeBlanc led the Oaks with seven assists and the Oaks shot 59.4 percent in the final half to finish at 50 percent for the game.

Up Next Menlo have a week to enjoy its recent victories before doing battle with NorCal rival No. 18 William Jessup University. The Warriors just beat No. 7 The Master's University in double-overtime, so both teams are coming in hot. Tip-off is set for 7:30 pm next Saturday inside Haynes-Prim Pavilion.

posted by Menlo Athletics on Feb 2, 2019 at 9:22 pm

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