THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - It is a new week, but the same winning ways for the Cal Lutheran men's basketball team. Tonight, hosting Pomona-Pitzer in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) contest at the Gilbert Arena, the Kingsmen used the energy from the crowd to hang on for a 63-61 victory.
Although the score teeter-tottered over the first 14 minutes of play, Coltrane Powdrill found Guy Lynott open in the paint at the 5:55 mark and he promptly gave CLU a 19-18 lead, also sparking a 13-4 run to close out the opening period. During the first frame, Powdrillsupplied 11 rebounds and Arik Smith scored 14 first points as CLU built a 30-22 halftime advantage.
Out of the break, PP struck first with a three-pointer from Gibson Farone Collins, but Lanaki Apele reciprocated with one of his own. The Sagehens chipped away and the teams continued to battle.
After PP got the upper hand at 34-33, Connor McGuire knocked down a three-pointer, only for the lead to again be negated by a Kyle McAndrews layup. Knotted at 36-36, McGuire gave the crowd what they came to see as he dunked to spark an eruption from the bleachers. Yet again, Pomona-Pitzer retaliated with a dunk at their end of the court by way of Adrian Brandon to steal the wind momentarily.
The teams would exchange baskets before CLU took the lead for good on a Powdrill jumper that was assisted by Lynott at the 9:54 mark. Two possessions later, Lynott forced a turnover, earned a steal and got the ball to Apele for a basket.
With under five minutes to play, PP knocked on the door a few times, pulling within one point at 55-54 and 56-57, but a three-pointer from Smith and a circus-like reverse layup from Apele built the Kingsmen a six point lead. One more time, the Hens clawed back and closed the gap to 62-61 with nine seconds remaining in regulation.
Pomona-Pitzer had fouls to give and they did just that on three straight inbound plays, but the final one put Smith on the line. He converted the first and the second rattled around the rim before falling into the hands of the visiting team with one second to play, which ultimately ended the game.
Overall, Smith led the Kingsmen with 21 points while Apele and McGuire finished with 11 and 10 apiece, respectively. Additionally, Apele handed out a game-best six assists with Powdrill tallying four and Smith recording three.
Defensively, Powdrill pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds with Smith notching seven. McGuire also had two steals in the game.
Pomona-Pitzer (6-13, 4-6 SCIAC) was paced by a game-high 26 points from McAndrews with Michael Cohen scoring 16. Defensively, Farone Collins finished with a team-leading nine rebounds.
Cal Lutheran (14-4, 8-2) heads to Redlands on Saturday, Feb. 7 for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off against the Bulldogs.