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Basketball suffers setback in GSAC tournament

Eagles denied chance at second consecutive conference title.   |   Caroline Sommers/THE CHIMES

 

Biola men’s basketball will not repeat as Golden State Athletic Conference champions this year. The No. 7 Eagles lost their March 4 GSAC tournament semifinal game against The Master’s University at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif. by a score of 83-68.

Thwarted momentum 

The No. 14 Mustangs pulled away late after leading for the entirety of the second half. The Eagles never found their rhythm through the game, and it seemed as if every chance to gain some momentum was thwarted immediately by a clutch shot on the other end of the floor.

The game started ominously when senior forward Caelan Tiongson quickly earned two personal fouls and was subbed out of the game with 16:59 left in the first half. Coach Dave Holmquist kept Tiongson, one of the Eagles’ leaders, off the court until the second half.

Most of Biola’s other big men struggled mightily in the paint, as the Mustangs’ rim protection proved too much for them. The Eagles only had 18 points in the paint and the same number of second chance points despite a whopping 22 offensive rebounds. Senior forwards Jeff Gonzalez and Ryan Swain combined to go a dismal 4-18 from the field.

A bright spot 

Sophomore forward Alex Talma became one of the few bright spots of the game, shooting 8-17 and 4-8 from three-point range. He recorded 20 points and eight rebounds in just 19 minutes of action.

As much as the Eagles’ forwards struggled, the team’s guards may have fared even worse. Senior point guard Dakari Archer, arguably the best scorer to ever wear a Biola uniform, shot only 4-12 from the field and connected on just one out of his four three-point attempts.

Sophomore guard Trevor Treinen and junior guard Blake Shannon saw heavy minutes as Holmquist looked for a way to counteract Archer’s struggles, but the two only went 2-14 from the field. All in all, Biola shot a horrific 30 percent as a team.

If there is any silver lining for the Eagles, who are now 26-5 overall, it is that they will get an extended break before their final National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament. The Eagles, who dropped to No. 12 in the latest NAIA coaches’ poll, will face off against Langston University in the first round of the tournament Kansas City, Mo. beginning at 8 p.m. PST on March 15.

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