THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - On day one of the 19th Annual Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Tournament hosted by Cal Lutheran four teams from four different states gathered inside the Gilbert Arena. Advancing to the championship game following victories tonight is host Cal Lutheran and Hamline. In the first game CLU defeated Ripon 82-65 and in the nightcap Hamline erased a 14-point deficit, forcing overtime and earning a 104-99 victory.
In the first game Cal Lutheran never trailed and used a 56.4 shooting percentage and a 17-for-18 free-throw performance in the game to seize control of the contest and remain undefeated at home this year at 6-0.
The Kingsmen took as much as a 16-point lead at the 9:08 mark in the first half on a Dan Wade jumper. Ripon chipped away and got back within six on a Ty Ketz three-pointer, but with just over three minutes to play in the first period Michael Palmer drove the baseline and layed one in for a 10-point lead, the same margin the Violet and Gold would lead by at the intermission.
After the break CLU came out with a 7-2 run capped off with a Corey Quintana and-one, but Ripon hung around and kept things interesting, making it a two-possession game on an offensive rebound and put back followed by a jumper from Brad Brooks for a 56-51 score. Late in the game RC was within four at three different times, but CLU forced back-to-back turnovers to regain control and another Quintana and-one sparked a stretch of nine unanswered points late in the stanza. A strong defensive performance in the second half was paced by Guy Lynott who finished with a game-high nine rebounds.
Ripon (5-4) shot 42.6 percent from the floor and used a 5-for-5 free-throw performance in the first half to finish 15-for-21. The Red Hawks were led by Ty Sabin with 21 points while Brooks added 10. Brendan McCoy had a six-rebound game to lead RC.
Cal Lutheran (9-1) placed three players in double figures. Quintana shared the game-high as he produced a career-best 21 on 8-for-12 shooting. Arik Smith tallied 18 and Coltrane Powdrill poured in 12. Smith led all players with seven assists and Powdrill recorded three blocks as each had three steals.
The second game seemingly belonged to Otterbein who opened a nine-point, 48-39, halftime lead, but hot shooting from the Pipers, paced by Dior Ford and Zach Moll, forced overtime after initially tying things at 83-83 before time expired in regulation with the teams knotted at 87-87. A physical game saw five players foul out as the squads combined for 64 free-throw attempts.
The Cardinals took their largest lead of the game with 4:15 to play in the first half on a Jake Bischoff free-throw that finished off a three-point play. In the second, Hamline erased the deficit. The momentum in overtime was on Hamline's side as the Pipers pushed their lead to eight on a pair of free-throws from game-leading scorer Ford with 2:41 to play. HU would maintain the edge despite Otterbein pulling within three on a Bischoff layup with under a minute remaining. Bennett Cooper put the Pipers over the century mark and knocked down the final two points of the game for his team from the charity stripe.
Hamline (5-4) had a pair of huge double-doubles with Ford leading all players with 38 points and Austin Johnson pouring in 20 as they shared the rebounding lead with 10 apiece. Moll used six three-pointers to finish with 21 points in the game. Ford also handed out a team-leading five assists. Overall, HU pulled down 47 rebounds to OC's 33 with 12 at the offensive end of the court, which were converted into 22 points.
Otterbein (2-8) also had three players produce double figures, paced by 28 from Jake Phillis that included a 14-for-15 night at the line. Bischoff finished with 26 and Marc McCuen chipped in with 10. Bischoff also recorded a game-high six assists and Phillis led all players with four steals. On the glass, Phillis and Grant Fenner each pulled down eight rebounds for the Cardinals.
Day two of the 19th Annual Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Tournament on Dec. 30 will feature a consolation final between Ripon and Otterbein at 6:00 p.m. followed by the championship game at 8:00 p.m. An All-Tournament Team will be announced immediately following the final game.
Tournament Central: 19th Annual Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Tournament
Box Score: CLU 82, RC 65
Box Score: HC 104, OC 99 - OT
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