Men’s basketball starts season with back-to-back road wins

The men’s basketball team won against both Menlo College and Pacific Union College last week.

Zachary Fu, Writer

Eagles handle Menlo College and Pacific Union College

The Biola men’s basketball season kicked off last week with a 75-48 victory against Menlo College on Thursday, Nov. 3 and a strong 82-63 win against Pacific Union College on Friday, Nov. 4.

“It was really important for us, as a team, to come together and get rolling because the [preseason] scrimmages were kind of rough and we finally felt like we were flowing well and playing well. We were really excited about getting those two [wins],” junior Andre Murillo said.

Although it is a very new team, head coach Dave Holmquist seems to be leading them in the right direction. The win against Menlo was the Eagle’s 17th consecutive season opening victory, a streak that dates back to 1994.

Adams leads No. 15 Eagles over Menlo

There was much anticipation about how the NAIA No. 15 Eagles would perform in their first real game together. Although they were slightly heavy in turnovers with 16, they did not disappoint, outdoing Menlo in nearly every statistic. Junior Chase Adams led Biola with 20 points, sophomore Zack Zaragoza contributed 15 and Murillo recorded his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Biola took control of the game from the tip-off, opening the game with a 21-4 run. The Eagles showed that they have talented shooters with five of their first eight baskets coming from behind the 3-point line. Biola ended the half with a 51-22 lead. At that point, Adams had nearly outscored the entire Menlo team, recording all 20 of his points in the first half on six of nine shooting from the field and five of eight from beyond the arc.

Murillo earns second double-double in as many games to Beat Pacific Union

Biola then defeated Pacific Union College on Friday. Murillo led the way with an outstanding performance of 30 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double this season. He was nearly unstoppable, sinking 10 of 13 shots from the field and going 10 of 15 from the free throw line, either scoring or getting fouled every time he touched the ball. Senior Lamar Lee added 12 points and seven assists and Adams contributed 11 points. The Eagles again shot a significantly higher percentage than their opponent, sinking 53.6 percent of their shots in contrast to Pacific Union’s 39.3. To add to this, Biola also shot 52.9 percent from beyond the arc, draining nine 3-pointers.

“It started off initially with guys like Given [Kalipinde] and my point guard, Lamar. They were just telling me, ‘you know, go to work’ because I had a size advantage underneath. It just went from there and you just play and start getting going a little bit,” Murillo said. “We came out slow, but we came together and figured it out after the first few minutes.”

The Eagles began the game with a slow start, falling behind 8-3 to the Pioneers in the first two and a half minutes of the game. After taking a brief lead, Pacific Union responded with a 3-pointer to put the Eagles down again at 11-10. However, that was the last time that the Pioneers appeared to have a chance. The Eagles bounced back with a 14-5 run, powered by eight points from Murillo, to take a 24-15 lead. The Pioneers cut the lead down to as few as six, but at halftime, Biola held a 13-point advantage at 41-28.

Biola began the second half with a 15-3 scoring spree to increase the lead to 56-31. The Eagles kept the lead at around 20 points for the remainder of the game, and cruised to a second-straight victory to cap off their season opening road trip.

The Eagles have shown that they are a talented team, with accurate outside shooters and a powerful inside presence in Murillo.

“I think we have, like, seven guys who are capable of scoring 20 or 30 [points], whatever game it is,” Murillo said. “It just depends on exploiting the other team’s weaknesses.”

The Eagles open up play at home with three consecutive games against non-conference teams. Starting with Arizona Christan University on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 3 p.m. Biola then hosts Holy Names University on Monday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and California State University San Marcos on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

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