CLAREMONT, Calif. - Entering the evening the Cal Lutheran men's basketball team was the only undefeated squad in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) going into league play. A tilt with a talented Pomona-Pitzer team at Voelkel Gymnasium started shaky, but a composed and balanced Kingsmen team eliminated an early deficit to make it a close game, though the Sagehens ultimately trumped CLU 75-64.
PP opened a 10-0 advantage early, aided by three CLU turnovers, but after a Kingsmen timeout Coltrane Powdrill, last week's SCIAC Athlete of the Week, put the Violet and Gold on the board.
Unfortunately the struggles continued for the visiting team as Pomona-Pitzer pushed its lead to 18-2 and held a 16-point advantage twice in the opening half. Ten minutes into the contest Cal Lutheran had clawed back into striking distance. They got within 10 at 28-18, by way of an Arik Smith bucket before he followed with a block on the ensuing possession that was capped off with a Guy Lynott basket. Lynott immediately forced a turnover, grabbed a steal and produced a jumper to make it a two possession game at 28-22. Smith quickly sunk a three-pointer to pull the score to 30-25 and in his first appearance of the season, Dan Wade knocked down a three-pointer of his own at the 3:00 minute mark to get CLU back within a pair at 30-28. The Kingsmen trailed by just three, 35-32, at the intermission.
Out of the locker room Powdrill scored the first points of the second half, pulling the teams to a one-point differential. Over the next five minutes the sides exchanged points until Smith earned the Kingsmen their first lead of the evening at 44-43.
Pomona-Pitzer used a 6-0 run midway through the second half to regain the momentum on a pair of Jake Klewer rebounds, a layup and a block before he notched a dunk with 6:05 to play in regulation, which forced another Cal Lutheran timeout. The adjustments made in the CLU huddle did not work as the Hens immediately turned to Xavyr Moss, who was quiet in the first half, for a three-pointer and an eight point lead. Pomona-Pitzer got a second dunk from Gibson Farone-Collins at 4:17, which began another 6-0 run that pushed the advantage back to double figures at 67-56 in favor of the home team.
CLU made a late push with three-pointers from Smith and Wade and a layup from Lynott, but it was too little too late for the Kingsmen who were unable to catch up to the Sagehens in the final minutes.
In a much more physical half the teams combined for 24 fouls, shooting a total of 28 free-throws. The difference maker was that PP went 14-for-24 from the line, including an 8-for-10 performance in the final 42 seconds.
Pomona-Pitzer (4-2, 1-0 SCIAC) remained undefeated at home as the Sagehens were paced by Kyle McAndrews with a game-high 23 points. Klewer produced 12 rebounds to lead all players, adding 11 points and Moss finished with 17 points and eight boards.
Leading the offensive attack for the Kingsmen tonight was Smith with 18 points, followed by Lynott with 16 and Powdrill finished with 13. On the glass, Lynott grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and Jeremy Sulker-Hall came off the bench for six, adding a block and four points on 2-for-3 shooting as well. Smith also tallied a trio of blocks while Lynott and Powdrill each recorded a pair.
Cal Lutheran (3-1, 0-1 SCIAC) is back on the road Saturday, Dec. 7 when the Kingsmen and Regals both travel to Chapman for a doubleheader. The men will tip-off at 5:00 p.m. followed by the women's game at 7:30 p.m.