THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The Cal Lutheran men's basketball team jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating St. Katherine College 79-60 for their third straight win of the season inside Gilbert Arena on Friday night.
The Kingsmen shot a season-high 57.4 percent for the game and shot 80.8 percent (21-for-26) from the free-throw line as they controlled the game from start to finish.
Dan Wade continued his hot three-point shooting with an early three to start the scoring for the Kingsmen and knocked down a second three just two minutes later to extend the CLU lead 12-3.
The Kingsmen hit 12 of their first 15 shots and shot 80% from the field midway through the opening half as Arik Smith found his teammates early and often with three assists in the opening minutes.
After forcing St. Katherine into multiple turnovers, the Kingsmen capitalized on the offensive end and outscored the Firebirds 12-4 in points off of turnovers in the first half.
The Kingsmen took a 35-9 lead with nine minutes left in the opening stanza after another jumper from Wade and Lanaki Apele provided a spark off the bench to keep the momentum going for CLU.
Despite a late run from the Firebirds, the Kingsmen led 40-21 at the half and shot 55.6% from the field. The Firebirds shot just 27.3% in the half on 6-of-22 shooting.
In the second half, St. Katherine improved their shooting but the Kingsmen remained hot and maintained a comfortable lead throughout the half.
Coltrane Powdrill entered the game early in the second half and had a highlight moment after driving baseline and elevating for a dunk over a Firebird defender.
CLU dished out 16 assists on the night compared to just 4 from St. Katherine, and the Violet and Gold outrebounded the Firebirds 39-30. The bench got into the action for CLU and pitched in 24 points for the game.
Reagan Chapman made his season debut and added two rebounds, one block and one steal, while freshman Lyle West entered the game and made his CLU debut. With 1:37 remaining, Sawyer Weddle made a lay-up on a fast break for his first career points.
Smith led all players with 24 points and five assists while tying for game-high honors with eight rebounds. Wade added 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field and went 2-for-3 from behind the arc. Martin Flowers added 10 points and five rebounds and Guy Lynott had seven points and seven rebounds.
St. Katherine (1-11) was led by Jebari Robinson's 12 points and Ant Miller's 11 points and eight rebounds.
Cal Lutheran (4-2) will return to Gilbert Arena for the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Tournament, which will take place over two days beginning on Dec. 29. The first game will start at 6:00 p.m. when the Kingsmen will square off against Fontbonne.