WHITTIER, Calif. - For the final time of the 2015-16 season, the Cal Lutheran men's basketball team hit the hardwood and defeated Whittier 103-101 in a thrilling Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) overtime affair on Tuesday evening at the Graham Athletic Center.
Behind the hot shooting touch of Sam Cirillo, the Kingsmen jumped out to a 10 point, 48-38 haltime lead, after the junior guard knocked down four three-pointers and scored all 14 of his points in the first half.
The Poets battled back in the second half and a clutch three-pointer by Jacob Contreras tied the game at 90-90 with 37 seconds remaining. CLU had a chance for the win in regulation but a missed three-pointer would send the game into overtime for the third time between the two teams in the past two seasons.
In the extra period, Jeremy Sulker-Hall scored five key points down the stretch to help CLU pull away and secure the victory.
Offensive Highlights: In the high-scoring game, five different Kingsmen scored in double figures led by Sullker-Hall and Austin Cole who tallied 26 points apiece. Connor McGuire added 18, Dan Wade scored 17 and Cirillo finished with 14. Lanaki Apele dished out a team-high six assist while Cole added three. At the free throw line, the Violet and Gold shot 82.4 percent (28-for-34) and were led by Cole who went 10-for-13.
Defensive Highlights: Along with his 18 points, McGuire capped off his career with a double-double after pulling down 14 rebounds. Sulker-Hall also reached double-double status with 10 rebounds. The duo also added a block and steal apiece.
Opponent: Whittier was led by Anthony Martinez who finished with 22 points and Andrew Torres who scored 19. Guard Eric Jennings had a strong all-around game with 13 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Notables: Cal Lutheran finishes the season with a record of 11-12 overall and 7-9 in SCIAC play, which lands them in a four-way tie for fifth place. The Kingsmen graduate four seniors in Apele, McGuire, Sulker-Hall and Wade.