SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - For the first time of the 2016-17 season, the Cal Lutheran men's basketball team stepped on the hardwood and came away with a pair of victories to start the year at the Mission Inn Classic. On Friday night, the Kingsmen cruised to a 73-62 win over UC Santa Cruz after a hot start and capped off the road trip with a 70-67 win over Linfield (Ore.) on Saturday.
CLU def. UCSC 73-62
In the first game of the season, the Kingsmen jumped out to a big lead after scorching the net from beyond the arc early on. CLU went 8-of-13 from three-point land in the first half and went on a 31-6 run to start the game. The trio of Adrian Francis, Wolfgang Wood and Caleb Richey each hit a pair from downtown in the first half alone and the Kingsmen tallied 13 assists on 16 made baskets. The Banana Slugs turned the tide in the second half, outscoring the Violet and Gold 39-32, but were unable to overcome the massive first half lead.
Wood finished with 16 points, to tie for game-high honors, while Cole added 14 and Francis had 13. Richey and Blake Miles pitched in 11 and 10 points, respectively, to put the entire starting five in double-figures. Francis had a strong all-around game with seven dimes and eight boards while Cole and Richey added five assists apiece.
Miles, Richey, Wood, Kyle Ferreira and Westen Ziegler all made their CLU debuts in the game.
CLU def. LC 70-67
The Kingsmen faced a little more of a challenge in the second game of the Mission Inn Classic, holding on to a 70-67 win over Linfield. CLU got off to a quick start once again, opening the game on a 15-3 run highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from Cole. Wood tallied 10 points in the first half while Richey was distributing the ball with five assists, and the Kingsmen took a 36-28 lead into the break. The Wildcats came out on fire in the second half shooting 73.9 percent (17-for-23) from the field and made things interesting down the stretch. With 4:33 remaining, a Linfield layup put the Wildcats up by two, 63-61. Francis responded with a three-pointer to take the lead back, and the senior guard hit two clutch jump shots down the stretch to secure the win.
Francis finished with a game-high 19 points, including 14 in the second half, while adding six rebounds and four assists. Wood totaled 17 points while Miles and Ziegler added eight points apiece. Richey finished with a game-high eight assists and seven different players recorded a steal.
Cal Lutheran (2-0) continues road action next Friday, Nov. 25 against Lewis & Clark followed by a game against George Fox on Saturday, Nov. 26.