The Menlo College men's basketball team exploded for its first home win of the season on Thursday night, charging over La Sierra University, 75-60. The win snapped a Menlo six-game losing streak, while the Golden Eagles dropped their seventh straight.
Menlo (3-11) quickly turned the complexion of the nonconference tilt late in the first half, beginning a game-changing 29-10 run that lasted through about midway into the second. The Oaks and Golden Eagles (3-15) played to three ties and five lead changes over a very competitive first 18:16, before Menlo put some distance between LSU.
A bucket from La Sierra's Garrett Kiefer made it 44-38 with 16:16 remaining in the second half, but that would be the final LSU points until the 11:09 mark. Menlo junior John Smith began the run with a basket from the paint, before the Oaks hit their stride from beyond the arc.
Freshman David Abbitan kicked off the 3-point festivities, nailing one from downtown to put the Oaks ahead 49-38. Then, it was Dante Miller time.
The explosive 5-foot-10 guard knocked down three consecutive triples, spanning the course of 1:30 to increase the Menlo margin to 20. Fellow junior Charles Barnes capped off the run with a bucket from close, and in the blink of an eye, the Oaks led 60-38 with 11:29 left.
Miller ended his evening with 13 points, 10 in the second half, going a perfect 4-for-4 from deep for the game.
Menlo's Keith Bowman led all players on the court with 25 points and nine rebounds.
"It's nice to get a win here," Bowman said. "We have been having some tough losses lately. It was a tough trip to Hawaii, and we had a tough game on Saturday (a 78-85 loss to Notre Dame De Namur). Tonight, though, we played as a team; we played up tempo, and forced a lot of turnovers."
Menlo will host UC Santa Cruz on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
In a game that featured 16 ties and 12 lead changes, No. 24-ranked Menlo came up just short in a 76-72 loss to La Sierra University inside Haynes-Prim Pavilion.
The Lady Oaks (12-3) controlled a 70-68 lead with just over 30 seconds left, but a Golden Eagles' possession that netted La Sierra with five points dramatically changed the tide, before LSU ended the game on an 8-2 run to stun Menlo at home.
The Oaks had just broken the tilt's 15th tie of the game thanks to a Laurel Donnenwirth bucket to give Menlo a 70-68 lead, but the Golden Eagles (6-11) responded with a momentum-changing trip down the court.
Junior Victoria Lowe knocked down a bucket from inside the paint while being fouled to set up a potential three-point play with just 32 seconds left. The Lady Oaks were also called for a technical foul on the play, so in stepped La Sierra's Natalia Hawthorne, who made two clutch free throws to push the Golden Eagles up 72-70. Lowe then converted on the "and 1" basket, and in the blink of an eye, LSU led 73-70.
Menlo came right back with a bucket of its own from Lauren Adamek, bringing the Lady Oaks within 73-72 with only 14 seconds left. Hawthorne split a pair of free throws on the next La Sierra possession, setting up a final opportunity for Menlo to come up with the potential tying or winning score.
Down 74-72, the Lady Oaks called a timeout with eight seconds left, but a misplayed inbounds pass took the air right out of the building. The Golden Eagles got the ball right back, and after two made free throws by Brittani Walker, LSU ended Menlo's chances.
Sophomore Jolise Limcaco led the Oaks with 22 points in a losing effort, knocking down a pair of clutch second half 3's, as well. The second Limcaco triple gave Menlo a 64-62 advantage inside the final five minutes.
Donnenwirth nearly missed a double-double with 18 points and eight rebounds, scoring 12 over the course of the first 11:30 after Menlo dug itself an early 9-0 hole.
The Oaks will host UC Santa Cruz on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
The Oaks will look to make it two straight on Saturday (Jan.5), as Menlo closes out their three-game home stand with a matchup against Santa Cruz. Tipoff is slated for 7:30pm.