Author: Dean DeChiaro
Despite coming to within two points of tying the game, the Oxy men’s basketball team ran out of gas late in the 2nd half and fell to the CSU Dominguez Hills Toros, losing by a score of 64-45. After opening the game down by 12, the Tigers fought back, but lacked depth on their bench. The Toros, who dressed 20 players, took advantage of the Tigers’ tiredness. However, the Tigers and their coach, Brian Newhall ’83, viewed the loss as much more of a learning experience than a loss.
“It was a fantastic building block for us,” said Coach Newhall, identifying defensive transition, offensive fluidity, and rebound effort as the key improvement areas he saw arise during the game. More specifically, according to Newhall, the Toros’ “outstanding pressure defense helped us learn to get a better grasp of the pressure releases in our offense.”
“I feel the scrimmage will have a very positive affect on our immediate future,” forward Clark Gordon (junior) said. “Playing against high-caliber competition really magnifies any fundamental errors we’re making and helps us pinpoint what need specific attention at practice.”
Asst. Coach and former player Avi Meyerson set up the game vs. the Toros, a Division II school that fielded a few Division I transfers.
“Dominguez Hills is a team that would win the D3 National Championship,” Coach Newhall said. “Playing good teams exposes your weaknesses and helps you improve…that is what the pre-season is all about.”
At the end of the game, Newhall and the players both seemed very pleased by the Tigers’ performance.
“Take out the first five minutes and the last five minutes and we played an outstanding game,” Newhall said.
“Even though we were down and under-manned, we continued to play and almost took the lead,” guard Aaron Ostrow (junior) said. He added that “the best thing that the team did was fight. The thing we need to improve the most is that we need to make the shots that we can make.”
Both the players and the coach commended the high-pressure defense of the Toros, but thought it was something they would have been able to overcome with more preparation. “We haven’t finished putting in all of the offensive counters to high pressure, so we got hurt a bit by the overzealous defensive intensity of CSUDH,” Gordon said.
This game was an exhibition game serving as a prelude to the season opener against La Sierra on Nov. 18.
“We made numerous defensive errors, missed many block-outs and turned the ball over too much,” Newhall said. “Lots to work on. We have fifteen practices until our opener vs. La Sierra. The team is working hard and improving every day.”
The game also was a chance for the Tigers to practice some of the offensive formations against a formidable defense.
“The scrimmage gave us a chance to try out different setups and match-ups before the season officially begins,” said Gordon.
The outlook for the team is good, and this, according to Gordon, was due in part to playing the Toros. Ostrow disagreed, commenting that he doesn’t think that the outcome of this game will have any affect on the Tigers’ season.
This was the first time the Tigers played in the newly renovated Rush Gymnasium, which was given a makeover in the offseason. The reactions to the new look were positive. “Rush Gym looks fantastic; the court is dramatically improved and whole atmosphere of the gym is livelier because of the new paint and ceiling,” Gordon said.
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