The Oaks came into tonight's contest against Simpson University just one win away from achieving their goal of a California Pacific Conference title, their first in nearly a decade and only third in the program's history. Leaving nothing to chance Menlo came out in dominating fashion with a 92-73 blowout victory against the Red Hawks to take the conference crown. "Obviously it's been a goal for us since day one," commented first year Head Coach Jon Surface
. "It is something that hasn't been done in a long time and I couldn't be with a better group of guys to share it with."
Simpson, who came into the game with a 2-27 record, held their own in the first half allowing Menlo to only take a five point lead into the break. Led by the passionate group of seniors playing in their final regular season home game, the Oaks came out in the second half looking to put away the Red Hawks and capture the title. Menlo did just that by playing a strong second half in which they outscored Simpson by 14 on their way to hoisting the conference crown.
With the exception of the team's leading scorer Julian Harris
, four of the five seniors scored in double figures led by Drew Davis
who scored a team high 16, shooting three of five from downtown. Menlo tied a season high with 92 points, matching their total against this same Simpson team in their first meeting back on January 27th
Tonight's victory is a culmination of all the hard work and long hours this team put in, just ask co-captain Julian Harris
. "It's what we have been working for through the summers these past four seasons. It feels incredible tonight," claimed Harris. For fellow co-captain Nick McCullar
the conference title is just the first step on the Oaks' road to the National Tournament. "When I was a freshman the upperclassman showed us how to work hard, and now that we have this we want to get to the next step and continue to work hard," remarked McCullar.
The next step for the Oaks will begin this Friday February 25th at Haynes-Prim Pavilion with the semifinals of the Cal Pac tournament. Menlo, who has a first round bye, will take on the winner of Pacific Union and Holy Names. The conference title is definitely something to be proud of but according to Julian Harris, "Our work is not done, I can't stress that enough."