Nick Pete and Jacob Knox are becoming quite the one-two combo.
Thursday night in Fullerton, the Westcliff University men’s basketball team rode two sterling performances from its post workhorses to knock off Life Pacific, 79-68, at Hope International University.
Pete was simply dominant, turning in 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting, all from the paint, while corralling 12 rebounds and rejecting a pair on the other end with his usual emphatic flair.
Meanwhile, Knox did what Knox does, steadily guiding the Warriors’ ship on the offensive end to the tune of 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting to complement nine boards, a dime and a pair of steals.
Pete played 35 minutes, and Knox clocked in at 34. No other Warrior eclipsed the 30-minute mark. In short, Westcliff has found its bread-and-butter.
“They just keep getting better and better,” Westcliff head coach James Larson said of Knox and Pete. “They were tired. I don’t know how many minutes they played, but they played more than they should have tonight. But we’ll do what we got to do. They’ll keep playing. Neither of them is going to say they’re tired. It’s a credit to both of them.”
While Knox and Pete were the headliners, Westcliff received a number of complementary performances – Rishard Williams and Damien King both turned in eight, while Richard Serrano chipped in seven more – but overall, the Warriors could have played better.
Taking a seven-point lead into the break and extending it to double digits early on in the second half, Westcliff found itself trailing with seven minutes to go before recollecting its momentum and capturing the win.
“We don’t know how to win yet,” Larson said. “We had a lead and then we relaxed a bit and lost it. It’s never going to be that easy, not at the college level. But, we recovered. Credit our guys.”
Adofo Thomas led the distribution with three dimes, and scored five while swiping two steals.
Damas Robbins and Serrano had a pair of dimes, and Ely Cohen hit a triple in the second half that helped swing the momentum back toward Westcliff.
Larson also credited the Warriors’ defensive effort down the stretch as making the difference.
“We went into a few different defenses, we mixed it up on them, and they got a little confused,” he said. “That gave us some energy. When we have defensive energy, we have offensive energy. That’s the whole key to our team.”
Westcliff will enjoy a few days off before regrouping for a showdown with No. 10 Hope International, back in Fullerton, on January 11.
To contact Brandon Petersen, e-mail email@example.com.