THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The Cal Lutheran men's basketball team jumped out to a big lead early and cruised to an 84-75 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) victory against Occidental inside Gilbert Arena on Thursday night.
Entering the night, both teams ranked among the top in the nation in fewest turnovers per game with CLU ranked sixth with 10 per game and Occidental ranked 19th averaging just 10.7 per game.
The Tigers had 10 turnovers in the first half alone as the Kingsmen ramped up the defensive pressure and forced Occidental to play out of control.
With a 12-9 CLU lead in the early minutes of the game, Wolfgang Wood and Kyle Ferreira got hot and helped the Kingsmen go on a 15-6 run to take a 27-15 lead midway through the first half. After a pair of free throws from Wood and a Blake Miles layup, Wood added a layup of his own before draining a shot from beyond the arc. Ferreira added another three-pointer on the next possession down and converted a three-point play the old fashioned way off an assist from Caleb Richey.
The Tigers slowly rallied back and cut the deficit to six at 39-33, but the Violet and Gold responded with nine unanswered points, highlighted by an Austin Cole triple followed by another three-point play from Ferreira and another three-point basket from Wood, right before the half.
CLU led by double-digits for the majority of the second half until Occidental mustered a rally to cut the lead to seven, 82-75, with 36 seconds remaining but Wood knocked down a pair of free throws on the next possession to ice the game.
Wood finished with a game-high 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field and led the way defensively with a game-high four steals. The Kingsmen, as a team, finished with 14 steals overall while forcing the Tigers to 16 turnovers. Miles went 9-for-10 from the field for a career-high 20 points while also grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.
With 11 assists in the game, Richey leaped from ninth to fifth all-time in CLU single-season history with 152 dimes on the year. He sits just 12 assists shy from the top spot with at least four games remaining.
Ferreira and Kenneth Moffett also reached double figures with 14 and 10, respectively.
Occidental (12-9, 4-8 SCIAC) was led by Andrew Johnson who recorded a triple-double with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists while Jay Miller finished with 20 points and Jeevin Sandhu added 12.
With four games remaining in the conference schedule, the Kingsmen sit in a three-way tie with Pomona-Pitzer and La Verne with an 8-4 record.
Cal Lutheran(15-6, 8-4 SCIAC) will hit the road for its next two games beginning this Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Redlands at 7:00 p.m.
Box Score: CLU 84, OXY 75
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