ARCATA — At times Monday's basketball game looked like a holiday party in full swing, with the dance floor rocking and rolling to to the tune of a 91-58 Humboldt State win over visiting Linfield College.
Every Lumberjack player saw significant playing time, and all but one of HSU's 13 players contributed points to the non-league victory. Humboldt State improved its record to 5-4 overall, dropping Linfield to 2-5.
"This game was on the schedule specifically to get finals week going and build some momentum heading into the holiday break," HSU head coach Steve Kinder said. "This can prevent us from becoming stagnant and keeps us focused."
Every combination of players Kinder put on the court Monday displayed that focus and composure, allowing HSU to expand its lead to 30-plus points midway through the second period after holding a 43-30 margin at halftime. Junior point guard Allan Guei got the Jacks rolling, finishing with a game-high 20 points and dishing three assists in only 21 minutes of court time.
Also impressive were members of the Jacks' supporting squad, including senior Chris Pender, who contributed 15 points, 10 more than his prevous career high as a Lumberjack. Pender missed only a single shot from the field while also helping his team with three assists and four steals.
Meniru Ofodu, who came into the game averaging only 3.3 minutes of court time per contest, made the most of his 17 minutes Monday. Ofodu's five rebounds led the Lumberjacks in that category, and his frenzied defense helped the HSU press force Linfield into 23 turnovers.
"Chris looked good tonight. He looked strong and composed despite the one-sided nature of the game," Kinder said. "I also thought Mini (Ofodu) was fantastic. He was pursuing rebounds, had his hands on the ball and was making good passes. His stock really went up tonight."
The contributions of HSU's bench helped preserve the starters for Saturday's rematch with Cal Poly Pomona, a team they lost to in double overtime last week. Along with Guei, who played the entire 50 minutes against the Broncos two days ago, forward David Howard was also rewarded with a break, scoring 10 points and blocking two shots in 19 minutes on the floor.
Also in double figures for Humboldt State was Jordan Mackie with 12 points. Ryan Porter and Ryan Cali topped Linfield's offense with 14 points each.
Also impressing in his first extended appearance representing HSU was 6-foot, 10-inch freshman Jermain Wilson, who played the final 11 minutes of the game. Wilson grabbed two offensive rebounds that he converted into points, and also blocked three of the Wildcats' shot attempts.
HSU finishes its 2013 portion of the season Saturday against the Broncos in what promises to be another intense battle. Tip-off in Lumberjack Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., following the women's 5:30 p.m. game between HSU and Cal Poly Pomona.