Fresno - Chalk up another nail-bitter in the Special Events Center. Unfortunately for the host Sunbirds the visiting Westmont College Warriors walked away with the W.
The Sunbirds spotted the Warriors big 20-5 lead, but got it down to five points (39-34) after 20 minutes of play.
It was a similar story in the second half. The Warriors built a 12-point (54-42) lead in the first 10 minutes, but an 11-0 FPU run closed the gap to a single point (54-53) four minutes later.
The Sunbirds seized their first lead of the game (58-57) two minutes later (4:12) on a 3-point play by Rudy Lopez, but Nick Debban erased that with a reverse layup 40 seconds later.
The Warriors out-scored FPU 11-7 the rest of the way for their 5-point win.
"Our guys worked hard," said FPU coach Clark Sheehy. "I can't fault their effort. We are playing hard enough to win, but you can't get 14 points down on a good team. "
Tylor Dutton, with 13 points in the second half, led the No.12 Warriors with 18. Debban finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Santiago Aguirre (15 points) and Josh Ware (11 points) also reached double figures.
Lesego Molebatsi led FPU (11-10, 4-9) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Lopez notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 21 seconds remaining. Moustafa El Zanaty added 12 points.
It was the second close home loss for the Sunbirds this week. On Tuesday they dropped a 61-59 score to California Baptist when Lopez' 3-pointer at the buzzer was in and out.
"We have a week to prepare," continued Sheehy. "We'll make a few adjustments and keep working. We need to execute."
The Sunbirds have Tuesday off, then travel to San Diego to face Point Loma Nazarene next Saturday. Tip-off time in Golden Gymnasium will be 4:30 p.m.
Westmont: 16-7, 9-4 (W1)
Sunbirds: 11-10, 4-9 (L3)
The Sunbirds have played more games against Westmont than any other opponent. The series dates back to December 22, 1964 .Today's contest is the 88th meeting of the two teams. The Warriors hold a 68-20 series advantage, including a 28-12 lead in GSAC games. The Warriors have won the last six games, including a 59-56 nail-bitter on Santa Barbara a month ago.
Saturday, February 11 (4:30) - The Sunbirds will travel to San Diego to face Point Loma Nazarene University.
Next Home Game
Tuesday, February 14 (7:30) - The Sunbirds will host Biola University.
Fresno Pacific University offers undergraduate and graduate programs that stress solid academic preparation and a strong ethical foundation. Each year more than 2,000 traditional and adult students attend classes on the 42-acre main campus in southeast Fresno or centers in Visalia and Bakersfield. The university also reaches 12,000 students across the nation and around the world through professional development studies programs. The only four-year Christian university in the Central Valley, FPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and ranked in the top quarter among Western universities master's category by U.S. News & World Report.