Never before in the history of the PacWest has a men’s basketball team ever begun the season 13-0 in conference play. That is, until Head Coach Ryan Looney’s third season with the Sea Lions. Highlighted by a 75-71 win on the road against Chaminade, ranked #19 in the nation at the time, the team’s recent stretch has put Point Loma at the top of the conference standings by 2.5 games and in the top 10 of the Division II rankings.
Coach Looney, when asked, said that he was expecting the team to be successful from the beginning.
“We have really good players,” said Looney. “Our five leading scorers from last year are all back, which is Josh Rodriguez, Tanner Nelson, Sterling Somers, Preston Beverly and Ziggy Satterthwaite. We added Daulton Hommes, who’s having a very good year, too. We also have some other guys that have filled roles that are new to the program: Brock Mackenzie, Kay Anderson, Kaden Anderson, and Ben Okhotin.”
Junior guard Daulton Hommes, the team’s most noteworthy acquisition this past offseason, leads the team in scoring (21.5 points per game) and playing time (30.4 minutes per game).
When asked how Hommes’ presence has helped the team reach the next level, Looney answered, “I think with his character, more than anything. He comes and works hard every day. Him being around has elevated not just his own level, but everybody else’s, too.”
Hommes scored 36 points in the team’s record-setting 94–57 win against Dominican. Despite the team leading 52–29 at halftime, the team’s focus was to keep the momentum going throughout the entire game, which is perhaps one of the key ways to explain the team’s dominance.
“The halftime message was to finish and win the half,” said Hommes after the game. “That’s where the focus came from.”
Another player who received Looney’s praise was senior forward Preston Beverly, who leads the team with 7.8 rebounds per game and 25 total blocks.
“As we get deeper and deeper in our season, he’s giving more and more energy on the glass on both ends. That is extremely valuable for us,” said Looney. “The two of them are a deadly combination. Daulton really shoots it and is very talented on the perimeter. Preston is doing a really good job of establishing his presence in the post and on the glass. I think if we can continue to build off of these two things, this team probably hasn’t reached its potential yet.”
Following the win over Dominican, Beverly mentioned defense and rebounding as key points to the team’s success.
“We wanted to buckle down more defensively and keep the pedal down coming into the second half,” said Beverly. “The rebounds are always a given, offensively and defensively. If we just do that, this is the result we get.”
While the team continues to take its season one game at a time in what has been a memorable regular season, there is an important part of the year that will determine everything: the postseason. Last year, the Sea Lions failed to win a single game in the playoffs despite a remarkable season, and in 2017 they fell just short of the PacWest title in an 82–73 heartbreaker against Hawaii Pacific.
But of course, Looney feels that there is a long way to go before early March.
“I think if we can just slowly be mature enough to get better and better every day, then maybe end of the year we can start thinking about what this team can do and what kind of run we can make in the postseason,” said Looney.
The team’s next matchup will be at Concordia on Feb. 2. The next home matchup will be on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 P.M. against Hawaii Hilo.