Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – Its being labeled "The Shot" across campus as senior Louis Kurihara (Culver City, Calif.) knocked down the biggest basket of his four-year career Saturday night stunning the University of Redlands 93-92 inside of the Graham Athletic Center.
The game came down to the final :10 seconds of regulation with the contest all tied up at 90-90. Redlands' Michael Hanna came down and added the go ahead lay-up with :05 seconds remaining. But on the Poets next possession, Kurihara responded as time expired making a miracle happen off a broken play knocking down a three-pointer, while being fouled to create a court storming by the Poet faithful. Watch the Game-Winning Shot Here!
It was the game of the season as Whittier put together a furious comeback trailing by seven with 2:52 to play. Victor Nwaba (Los Angeles, Calif.) sparked the late run with a pair of free throws, Conner Longmire (Tarzana, Calif.) knocked down a huge triple to pull WC within two and Kurihara deadlocked the game at 90-90 with a dagger from straight away.
The game saw nine ties and 10 lead changes as the game went back and forth all night. Whittier received 48 points off the bench and shot 46% from the field and 32% from behind the arc. They were outrebounded 42-36 and were outscored 28-22 in the paint but picked up 16 points off turnovers.
Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) and Nwaba got the scoring started for the Purple & Gold with early buckets but that was erased as UR added seven unanswered to take a 10-7 lead. WC got right back into though as they put together 12 of their own that swung the momentum but again the Bulldogs used the long ball to storm right back to regain the lead at the halfway mark.
A 10-2 run later in the half extended the Bulldog lead to five at 37-31 but soon after the Poets countered with an 11-3 spurt of their own that closed out the half putting them on top 42-40.
In the second half the Poets were outscored 52-51 but had huge halves from Potthoff and Kurihara who each added 15 and 12 points, respectively over the 20:00 minutes. Redlands managed to increase their lead to 10 at the 14:58 mark but that was the largest lead of the game for either team. A 12-5 run by WC was huge late in the second half as it kept them in striking distance. Eric Davis (Ventura, Calif.) added a big and one play that moved the margin to five and Potthoff answered with back-to-back three-pointers followed by Kurihara adding a pair from the charity stripe that pulled WC within two.
Redlands tried to pull away with Jordan Holden adding a couple three-pointers and Sponheim with a layup but no lead is safe inside of the GAC as Whittier came back to pull off the biggest win on the season.
Potthoff finished with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting along with 13 boards. Nwaba registered 18 points with five boards and Kurihara chipped in with 15 points going 3-of-6 from deep coupled with six boards. Longmire was the final Poet in double figures with 11 and Davis finished with a solid stat line of seven points, four rebounds, two assists, and three steals.
Whittier looks to ride this momentum into Wednesday, January 31 when they host Cal Lutheran University beginning at 7:00pm.