Sports in Brief Nov. 20

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Author: Ryan Whalen

Men’s Basketball (0-1 overall, 0-0 SCIAC)
The Occidental men’s basketball team tipped off its home season Saturday in Rush Gymnasium against No. 15 University of St. Thomas. The Tigers lost 82-65 despite staying neck-and-neck with their nationally-ranked opponent through the majority of the first half. The black and orange’s high-octane offense proved too much for the Tommies to handle early on, roaring out to a quick 6-0 lead. Senior forward Kris Montoya and transfer guard Spencer Levy (junior) paced the Tiger offense, each recording over 20 points. First-year forward Andrew Johnson acted as the anchor for the Occidental defense, pulling down eight rebounds before fouling out with five minutes left in the game. But turnovers, constant foul trouble and the inability to secure rebounds stifled Occidental’s efficiency and allowed the Tommies to maintain a 10-point lead throughout the second half. Despite picking up the loss, the black and orange showed improvement from the last time it faced off against the Tommies in 2011 who D3 News ranked No. 8 prior to the season bettering its score by four points. The Tigers continue their non-conference schedule Saturday, hosting St. Katherine at 7 p.m.

Women’s Basketball (1-1 overall, 0-0 SCIAC)
The Occidental women’s basketball team played two games over the weekend, taking on St. Olaf and Colorado College. In Saturday’s match-up with St. Olaf, the Tigers generated 21 turnovers on defense while not allowing a single fast-break basket. First-year guard Tiffany Kho led the Occidental offense, scoring 12 points in her official collegiate debut. However, the black and orange was dominated on the glass 41-23, as the Lions capitalized on the extra rebounds for 15 second-chance points. In the end, St. Olaf captured the game 76-61. The Tigers bounced back the following day with a 67-57 win over Colorado College. Junior guard Michelle Lo sparked the black and orange offense with 23 points, and center Elizabeth Messick (senior) pulled down 20 rebounds to anchor the defensive unit. Occidental faces off against Colorado College again at 7 p.m. Friday, this time hosting the contest at Rush Gymnasium.

Cross Country
Both Occidental cross country teams participated in the NCAA West Regionals Saturday, looking to secure spots in the national championship meet. Men’s standout John Guzman (junior) notched another first-place finish with a time of 24:40.27 minutes, just 10 seconds off the course record and 12 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Junior Colin Smith also turned in a strong performance for the men, crossing the line in sixth place. Senior Jenna Wong led the way for the women’s squad with a 16th-place finish in a time of 22:55.19 minutes, and Mel Devoney (first-year) crossed the line just two seconds later for 17th place. While the Tigers did not qualify for the national championships as teams, Guzman and Smith secured positions as individuals. They travel to Hanover, Ind. Saturday at 11 a.m.

Swim & Dive
The Occidental men’s and women’s swim teams competed in the OC Invitational Saturday at Soka University. Junior Steven van Deventer posted a time of 2:10.93 minutes in the 200-yard breaststroke for the men, and teammate Alexander Najarian (sophomore) won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:04.14 minutes. On the women’s side, Caroline Chang (senior) dominated in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, touching the wall first in both events. First-year Rose Seabrook won the 1,000-yard freestyle, finishing just seven seconds above the school record. The women’s diving team, who did not travel to their scheduled Bulldog Invite Saturday, will join the swimming teams at La Verne Dec. 7 for a dual meet beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Men’s Water Polo (2-22 overall, 1-7 SCIAC)
The Occidental men’s water polo team was unable to find success in its regular season finale against Cal Lutheran Saturday. The Tigers went after the Kingsmen with a well-rounded offensive attack, as seven different players found the back of the net for the black and orange. Senior Jack Stabenfeldt and Patrick Maloney (sophomore) were the main Occidental contributors, registering two goals apiece. But the Tigers’ offensive distribution was not able to overcome the offensive production of Cal Lutheran, and the Kingsmen eventually took the match by a score of 16-9. The SCIAC No. 8 Tigers will take on No. 9 Cal Tech at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Chapman for the first game of the SCIAC Championship Tournament.

Devin Bullock (Football WR No. 81)
Sophomore wide receiver Devin Bullock has established himself as one of the go-to targets for the Occidental football team’s multifaceted attack throughout the year. The 6-foot-1 wideout was an integral part in capturing the Tigers’ first winning season since 2011, which culminated with Saturday’s 49-21 victory over La Verne. The sure-handed Dallas native was a vital asset in the transition to quarterback Bryan Scott (first-year) and, after only catching nine passes as a newcomer, broke out with 34 catches for 416 yards and four touchdowns on the 2013 campaign. He finished the year second on the team behind Sam Stekol (junior) in all major receiving categories. Although Bullock has not established himself as a deep threat to defenses his longest reception going for 28 yards — the stout wideout has proven his worth by moving the chains on quick hitters and punishing defensive backs that have tried to take him down in the open field. One of Bullock’s biggest games of the year came against Pomona-Pitzer, a low-scoring contest in which the squad needed him most. Bullock’s 83 yards on five catches accounted for more than half of the Occidental’s offense, and the Tigers were able to squeak out a 13-7 victory in the “Battle for the Drum” rivalry. As an upperclassmen next season, head coach Doug Semones expects him to make an even bigger impact.

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