Some people have doubted California Baptist sophomore guard Taran Armstrong.
“He’s not real strong.” “He turns it over a lot against better guards.” “Armstrong is a dud.”
There are others who believe Taran Armstrong is NBA ready.
For now, though, it doesn’t matter what others think.
And on Thursday night at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, Armstrong made it very clear that he is a very good basketball player.
Armstrong had a team-high 18 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds in leading the Lancers to a 73-64 win over Pac-12 foe Washington.
The win is the first one in program history over a Pac-12 opponent. And it’s the biggest non-conference win for the Lancers in the Division I era.
But, Thursday night did not get off to a good start for the Lancers.
First, there was the issue of the women’s game in front of them, which went into double overtime. This pushed tip-off back by about 20 minutes. Then there was the fact that Washington burst out of the games with an 8-0 run.
All did not look well for the Lancers.
But, a quick 30-second timeout by Rick Croy changed all that.
The Lancers went on a 15-2 run to take a 15-10 lead with 12:01 to play. Washington responded with a 9-2 run to take a 19-17 lead with 8:37 to play in the first half.
But, a Taran Armstrong jumper and a Joe Quintana 3-pointer gave the Lancers a 22-19 lead with 6:44 to play. It was a lead the Lancers would never relinquish.
Reed Nottage and Quintana hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead to seven with 4:48 remaining in the half.
And Taran Armstrong’s jumper with 35 seconds left sent the Lancers to the locker room with a 7-point advantage.
Perhaps the biggest sequence of the game happened with 9:22 to play.
Washington had cut the deficit to four on a driving layup by Keyon Menifield. And during CBU’s following possession, Hunter Goodrick made the play of the night. In fact, it should be considered for dunk of the year.
Goodrick, at 6-7, posterized Washington big man Franck Kepnang with a left-handed, one-hand throw down.
And following Reed Nottage’s offensive rebound off Goodrick’s miss on the and-1 opportunity, Timothy Ighoefe threw down a two-handed dunk to push the lead back eight with 9:01 to play.
The nail in the coffin came with 3:17 to play. Taran Armstrong hit a driving layup and converted the 3-point play. And on the very next possession, Armstrong knocked down a corner 3-pointer to push the lead to 11.
Armstrong capped off his big night in Seattle with a pair of free throws to set the final tally.
Joe Quintana finished with 17 points for the Lancers. Timothy Ighoefe had his best game in a Lancer uniform. The Georgetown transfer had 10 points and 11 rebounds as well as six blocked shots.
CBU shot 51 percent from the field and held Washington to just 39.7 percent. The Lancers also held Washington to just 4-16 from distance in the road win.
Franck Kepnang had a team-high 14 points for the Huskies. PJ Fuller II and Keion Brooks Jr. were both in double figures, each with 11 points. One thing of note was CBU’s defensive on Keyon Menifield. The Lancers held Menifield to eight points on 4-14 shooting just three nights after Menifield went for 26 points in a win against Utah Tech.
With the win, CBU improves to 3-1 and has won three straight since losing the season opener at home to Long Beach State. The Lancers face Minnesota on Monday in the SoCal Challenge in San Juan Capistrano. Depending on what happens in Monday’s game, the Lancers will face either UNLV or Southern Illinois on Wednesday.