THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - In the final home game of the regular season, the Cal Lutheran men's basketball team closed out Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action with an 88-62 rout over Caltech inside Gilbert Arena on Tuesday night.
Prior to the game, seniors Reagan Chapman, Sam Cirillo, Jacob Dawe, Adrian Francis and Wolfgang Wood were recognized for their contributions to the Kingsmen basketball program and CLU Department of Athletics over the past four years.
The senior group, however, will have at least one more opportunity to play at home as the Violet and Gold locked up the No. 2 seed in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament and will host No. 3 seed La Verne in the semifinals on Friday night.
As for Tuesday, turnovers were the name of the game as the Kingsmen forced 27 Caltech turnovers while limiting themselves to 11. One of the top teams in the nation in taking care of the ball, CLU ramped up its defensive pressure on Caltech while converting 35 points off turnovers as opposed to just seven for the Beavers.
After the Beavers won the tip, Caleb Richey came away with the first of a career-high nine steals in the game while Wood drained a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to put CLU on the board.
The Kingsmen were hot from the field early on, seeing a pair of three-pointers fall from Austin Cole moments later and Kyle Ferreira got in on the action with a triple of his own.
CLU took a 46-34 lead into the break, but Caltech came out hot in the second half and cut the Kingsmen lead to just six points, 52-46, with 15:17 remaining.
Blake Miles helped to widen the gap by knocking down a jump shot followed by a three-pointer for the five-point swing. That jump started a 25-8 run that put the game in the rearview mirror for CLU.
Capping off the night in poetic fashion, Dawe drained his first career three-pointer to electrify the crowd and Kingsmen bench.
Wood tallied a team-high 18 points in his final regular season home game and all five starters reached double-figures for CLU. Cole and Richey each logged 14 points apiece while Ferreira added 13 and Miles finished with 11. Richey, meanwhile, nearly recorded a triple-double the hard way with 11 assists and nine steals after terrorizing the Beavers on defense all night. Wood also had an incredible night on the defensive end with seven steals of his own.
Nasser Al-Rayes produced a game-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds to lead Caltech while Brent Cahill chipped in 13.
The SCIAC Postseason Tournament Semifinal will take place this Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:00 p.m. inside Gilbert Arena as No. 2 seed Cal Lutheran (19-6, 12-4 SCIAC) takes on No. 3 seed La Verne (16-9, 10-6 SCIAC). The Kingsmen and Leopards split the season series with each team winning on its home court.
Box Score: CLU 88, CIT 62
CLU Instagram: http://instagram.com/clusports#
M Basketball Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kingsmen_basketball/
CLU Twitter: https://twitter.com/clusports
M Basketball Twitter: https://twitter.com/CLUmBasketball
CLU Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clusports
M Basketball Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kingsmenbasketball/