Author: Jack McHenry
The Occidental College men’s basketball team is off to a 4-4 start to the season following the recent trouncing of American Sports University 98-70 on Dec. 5. Both Conrad Liebowitz (sophomore) and Deshun McCoy (junior) recorded a double-double for the Tigers, Liebowitz with 29 points and 16 rebounds and McCoy with 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Tigers dominated the contest from tip-off and cruised to the lofty 28 point victory in their first December match-up.
The Tiger victory came almost a full week after their narrow 74-70 loss to the Eagles of West Coast Baptist on Nov. 29. At halftime, West Coast Baptist led 40-30 and looked strong against Occidental. They were able to secure numerous offensive rebounds and convert them into second and third chance points. Additionally, the Eagles were lights out from beyond the three-point arc, where they were able to convert on many open looks. Conversely, the Tigers looked flat as they struggled to score the basketball and keep the Eagles off the offensive glass.
Five minutes into the second half, West Coast Baptist extended the lead to 14 points with 15 minutes left in the game. The Tigers quickly erased the lead, tying the game at 55 with 10 minutes left. West Coast Baptist suddenly seemed unable to secure any offensive rebounds and the defensive pressure of Occidental did a much better job of contesting three-point attempts by West Coast Baptist as well as forcing them into turnovers.
The momentum of the game shifted entirely, and Occidental corrected their first-half miscues. The Eagles were able to weather the storm and go on a 13-1 run of their own, going up by as much as nine points late in the second half. Despite their furious comeback, the Tigers were unable to finish on a winning note. Jack Hanley (senior) and Deshun McCoy (junior) had 19 points apiece for the Tigers and Conrad Liebowitz (sophomore) hauled in 12 rebounds.
Occidental was able to build upon the success and effort of their 20-4 run against West Coast Baptist, handily beating American Sports University for the second time on the young season. The team can be seen on Dec. 18 when they host Widener University at 7 p.m.
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