THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - For the first time since the 2007-08 season, the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament is coming to Cal Lutheran. The Kingsmen (19-6, 12-4 SCIAC) locked up the No. 2 seed and will welcome No. 3 seed La Verne (16-9, 10-6 SCIAC) for a semifinal matchup this Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:00 p.m. inside Gilbert Arena.
The two teams split both their matchups earlier this season, with each winning on its home court. The Leopards defeated CLU 93-81 in their first meeting of the year before the Kingsmen routed La Verne 113-87 last weekend at home. Entering the tournament, La Verne and CLU are ranked first and second, respectively, in the SCIAC in points per game with the Leopards averaging 84.1 points and the Kingsmen scoring 83.0 points per game.
The Kingsmen are led by senior transfer Wolfgang Wood, who is averaging 19.3 points per game to rank second in the conference, and has scored double figures in all but one game this season. The Newport Beach, Calif. native is also one of the most efficient shooters in the league, boasting a 53.7 field goal percentage, which is the highest in the SCIAC for any player averaging over 11 attempts per game. Junior point guard Caleb Richey has also made an immediate impact in his first season for CLU, leading the conference with 8.1 assists per game against SCIAC opponents, which is more than double any other player in the league. Richey ranks seventh in the nation with an overall average of 7.3 assists per game while ranking sixth with a 3.73 assist to turnover ratio. He currently holds the CLU single-season record for assists with 183 and counting. Adrian Francis has returned from injury and is always a threat to score, averaging 14.7 points per game, while deadeye Austin Cole, who is averaging 13.7 points per game, ranks fifth in the league with 60 made three-pointers. Another first year player in Blake Miles leads the team in rebounding at 6.6 per game while Wood averages 6.0. Richey also leads the conference with 2.2 steals per game and is coming off a career-high of nine against Caltech on Tuesday.
La Verne, meanwhile, is led by senior Hakim Arnold, who is averaging 18.3 points per game to rank third in the league behind Wood. The athletic guard is shooting 51.6 percent from the field and tallied 18 points on 9-for-16 shooting in the Leopards last matchup against the Kingsmen. La Verne also features another high-profile scorer in Anthony White, who is averaging 16.2 points per game. The junior has a season-high of 34 points, coming against Whittier, and can fill it up in a hurry from downtown as he currently leads the SCIAC in three-point makes (2.9) and attempts (7.4) per game. Cruz Mertens is another threat from three-point range, averaging 2.2 makes on 5.2 attempts for a 42.1 percentage to lead the team and rank fifth in the conference. Seniors Jordan Stokes and Kendall McClain round out the top scorers for the Leopards, averaging 11.1 and 8.6 points per game, respectively.
In the other semifinal matchup, No. 1 seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (20-4, 13-3 SCIAC) will host rival and No. 4 seed Pomona-Pitzer (14-11, 10-6 SCIAC) inside Roberts Pavilion. The winner of both semifinal games will play at the site of the highest seed remaining with a time to be determined on Saturday, Feb. 25. The winner of the tournament final earns an automatic bid into the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament.
Video and Live Stats will be available for the game and tickets will be sold at the entrance. Children under the age of 12 as well as students, faculty and staff with ID will receive free admittance. Tickets for seniors (55 and older) and veterans will be $5 while admission for all others is $10.
Tournament Central: 2017 SCIAC Men's Basketball Tournament
Live Stats: La Verne at Cal Lutheran
Video: La Verne at Cal Lutheran
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