Kingsmen Rally Past Tigers
CLU overcomes 10-point deficit
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Trailing by 10 points midway through the second half, Cal Lutheran went on a 13-2 run and then held on in the final minutes to defeat Occidental 61-56 Saturday night in Rush Gymnasium. The win also marked the seventh straight win over the Tigers as CLU has swept the season series each of the past three years.
Getting the seventh win in a row would not be easy to come by however.
The teams came out of the blocks even as they were tied at 13 midway through the first half. Sam Stapleton sank a three and Eric Leider made a layup on back-to-back possessions, giving the Tigers a five point lead.
Two minutes later, Michael Palmer had a breakaway layup that brought the score back to 18-16 but Occidental responded with a three-pointer from Ryan Chong on the next possession.
Guard Dan Wade would carry the Kingsmen in the final minutes of the first half. The freshman first hit a jumper to cut the lead to 28-22. Two possessions later, Wade would hit two free-throws, cutting the lead to three but Chong would finish a layup right before the clock expired as Oxy led 30-25 at half.
Occidental pushed their lead to 10 at 42-32 to start the second half before Jayvaughn Nettles hit two free throws and Corey Quintana scored on inbounds play, cutting the lead to seven.
Three minutes later, on a slick no-look pass from Jordan Williams, Quintana caught the ball, spun and finished with a reverse layup, trimming the Tiger lead to five at 44-39. The Kingsmen forced three-straight Tiger turnovers and capitalized with a long two from Williams, a put-back by Quintana, and two more free-throws from Wade, giving CLU its first lead since five minutes into the first half at 45-44.
Despite a three-pointer from Chong on the next possession, Nettles stole the ball from an Oxy player following a missed Kingsmen shot and put back in, tying the game at 47 with eight minutes to go.
Occidental retook the lead at 51-48 after stealing a Kingsmen pass and Conrad Liebowitz finished with a put-back dunk on the other end.
Unfazed, Cal Lutheran roared back with baskets from Quintana and Martin Flowers, giving CLU the lead back 51-50. The Kingsmen continued to hold the lead by one while they stepped up their defense, forcing Occidental to miss five straight shots.
CLU would extend their lead to two at 58-56 with 43 seconds left after Nettles hit one of two free-throws. Occidental would get an open look at the go-ahead three but it caromed off and Wade came up with the rebound. The Oxnard, Calif. native then pushed the ball ahead and found Palmer for an open layup, pushing the score to 60-56 and sealing the game for the Kingsmen.
Wade would tack on a free-throw in the final second as CLU completed the comeback, defeating Occidental for their fifth SCIAC win of the year.
Quintana led the Kingsmen with 20 points and nine rebounds. Wade was second with 14 and Nettles finished with nine points, 11 boards and six steals. Williams dished out four assists in 21 minutes of action.
Stapleton led the Tigers with 15 points on 6-12 shooting. Chong was second with 13 while Liebowitz finished with seven points and 12 rebounds.
With the win, Cal Lutheran improves to 9-12 overall and 5-7 in the SCIAC. After the loss, Occidental drops to 7-13 and 2-9 in the conference.
The Kingsmen will be back in action next Saturday, Feb. 9, when they host Pomona-Pitzer at 7:00p.m.