Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Basketball team sent off their four seniors in impressive fashion Tuesday night downing the Kingsmen of Cal Lutheran University 93-66 in front of a packed house inside the Graham Athletic Center.
Prior to the game Whittier acknowledged their senior class, which included Joey Toyama (Pasadena, Calif.), Conner Longmire (Tarzana, Calif.), Jacob Aruta (Stockton, Calif.), and Ryan Mendez (Whittier, Calif.). With the win, Whittier avenged their earlier loss to the Kingsmen, which came back on January 19 on a half-court buzzer-beater 71-70.
What many people are labeling "Kenyatta Day", the junior forward Kenyatta Louder (Compton, Calif.) put on a show putting up one of the best single game performances in program history finishing with 41 points and 23 rebounds. He was 14-of-20 from the field, which included a 7-of-9 mark from downtown to go with a blocked shot and two steals.
The game started off back and forth over the first four minutes until WC strung together ten unanswered with Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) and Louder answering from deep along with two free throws from Toyama and a layin by Louder. This moved the score to 15-6 and Whittier didn't let up as Louder continued to roll with the next 13 points giving the Poets a 27-14 advantage. At the 8:05 mark, Longmire got into the mix and in a big way completing a one-handed alley-oop dunk from Ahmad Young (Sunnyvale, Calif.) that brought the Poet faithful to their feet.
He then came down on Whittier's next possession with a jumper and then tacked on a triple with 5:41 to play in the half that made it a 16-point advantage. Over the final 4:50, Whittier added another nine points with seven of them coming from Louder that gave WC a 45-28 advantage at the break. In the first half Louder almost outscored the entire CLU team putting up 27 points and 14 boards.
In the second half despite putting up 38 points, the Kingsmen had no answer for the Poets offensive attack as they were outscored 48-38 along with seeing the Purple & Gold grab a lead as many as 31.
Longmire joined Louder in double digits finishing with 19 points and six boards along with three assists, a steal and a block. Young added 10 points off the bench with four rebounds and Aruta finished with eight. Mendez had his best game of his career. Despite only having two points he proved why he is one of the Poets' top defenders adding seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Whittier shot 46.6% from the field and 37.5% from behind the arc. They also were 76.5% from the free-throw line. They held a huge advantage on the glass 47-36, adding 14 second chance points and a 40-22 advantage inside the paint. They also caused 17 CLU turnovers and turned them into 25 points.