Kingsmen Soar Past Falcons

Kingsmen Soar Past Falcons

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The Cal Lutheran men's basketball team won its second straight non-countable game to start the 2015-16 season with an 89-69 victory over Cal Miramar on Monday night inside Gilbert Arena.

Adrian Francis led the Kingsmen for the second straight game, filling up the stat sheet against the Falcons with a game-high 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Both teams exchanged buckets in the early goings and the score remained neck-and-neck for the first ten minutes of the opening half.

With the score tied 18-18, Kellen Birdsall sparked a key 12-2 run that gave the Kingsmen a lead they would never relinquish. Birdsall, a sophomore, was able to utilize screens to get open in the paint and his teammates found him for a handful of easy lay-ups. Francis got into the mix with back-to-back baskets to extend the Violet and Gold's lead into double digits, up 34-24.

Cal Miramar would make a bit of a run before the end of the half, but a Connor McGuire lay-up brought the Kingsmen lead back to eight, 41-33, at the break.

CLU opened the second half with seven straight points coming from a Dan Wade free-throw, a pair of free-throws from Francis followed by back-to-back field goals from Jeremy Sulker-Hall.

From there, the Kingsmen continued to extend their lead to 32 at one point with 6:23 remaining in the game.

After Francis' 23 points, Birdsall racked up a career-high 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting while adding another career-high with four steals. McGuire pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds while adding four on the offensive end to go along with eight points. Sulker-Hall also added eight points and seven rebounds. Despite dealing with foul trouble, Lanaki Apele dished out five assists in just 13 minutes.

The Falcons were led by Anthony Mathiais and De'Zhawn Clophia who reached double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Elson Vessel had a strong all-around game with eight points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Kingsmen racked up 89 points for the second straight game, shooting 45.6 percent from the field (31-for-68) and capitalized on CMU mistakes with 24 points coming off turnovers.

Cal Lutheran hits the road this weekend to take on Whitman (Wash.) at UC Santa Cruz on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 1:00 p.m. in the first countable game of the year.

Box Score: CLU 89, CMU 69
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