Men’s basketball squeaks by in a win against Fresno Pacific

The Eagles win their first game of the season by a slim margin of seven points.


Courtesy of Biola Athletics

Sophomore guard Daniel Esparza passes to a teammate.

Charlotte McKinley, Freelance Writer

Men’s basketball played against Fresno Pacific University on Dec. 1 in the conference opening game and won, 63-61. The Eagles were determined to come out on top in their first conference game and it showed through their play. They dominated in the first half and ended 10 points ahead of Fresno Pacific. 

Not to be outdone on their home court, the Sunbirds surged ahead and proved trouble for the Eagles. Managing to shut down shots from Fresno, Biola quickly regained their lead and maintained it throughout the rest of the game despite several close calls. Barely surviving, the Eagles won 63-61. 


In a close scoring game, based on percentages compared to Fresno, Biola should have lost. They were 50% effective with their free throws, but their 3-point shots left something to be desired with a 35% effective rate and a 39.1% effective rate with their field goals. Fresno was 66.7% effective with their free throws, 53.8% effective with 3-pointers and 41.8% effective with their field goals.

Biola scored a total of 11 points off turnovers, compared to Fresno’s three. The Eagles had 34 points in the paint and 20 bench points. The Sunbirds only scored 11 bench points but scored 32 points in the paint. Biola had seven second chance points compared to Fresno’s two and 10 fast break points compared to the Sunbirds’ six. Sophomore guard Daniel Esparza had the only technical foul of the game.


20 seconds into the first half, sophomore forward Hunter Ruck fouled a Fresno player and the Sunbird made two free throws for the first points of the game. Ruck attempted a shot after but missed. After getting fouled, redshirt senior guard Alex Wright netted one free throw but missed the other for the first point of the game for Biola. Sophomore guard Erik Howlin made Biola’s first 3-pointer at the 16:46 mark. 

After going back and forth with the Sunbirds, sophomore forward Casey Cappo earned the Eagles’ first lead with a layup. This was enough to get the momentum started for the Eagles. Refusing to give the Sunbirds any ground, Biola surged ahead to 24-14 before the Sunbirds scored off a layup. Unable to retake the lead, the Sunbirds were forced to play the Eagles’ game. The first half ended 36-26.


Fresno, eager to defend their home court, made the first 3-pointer of the game and a layup quickly after. Determined to not shake the Eagles’ lead, Wright netted Biola’s first 3-pointer of the half. In the six minutes before Biola scored again, the Sunbirds surged ahead 39-44. Redshirt freshman forward Maximo Milovich scored two points on a jumper before getting fouled. Milovich missed his free throw and the game resumed. 

With just over seven minutes left in the game, Biola pulled ahead again when Wright scored a layup. The game was maddeningly close with the biggest gap with Biola ahead by five points. Fresno netted the last points off a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but the shot was not enough to defeat Biola. 

The Eagles eked out their first conference win, 63-61.

Men’s basketball (5-2 overall, 1-0 conference), will face off against Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif., on Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. Footage and stats from the game are located on the Biola Athletics website.

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