LA VERNE, Calif. — Senior Austin Cole poured in a season-high 35 points, shooting 16-23 from the field, as the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen took down the La Verne Leopards, 71-62, on Wednesday night.
Cole was one-point shy of his career-high. He scored 36 against UC Santa Cruz last year. He had his most efficient night of the season as he shot 69.5-percent from the field.
The win gave CLU its second conference win of the season and kept La Verne winless in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The Kingsmen are now 2-5 in conference and 4-11 overall.
Cole got off to a tremendous start, scoring seven of the Kingsmen's first nine points, and Cal Lutheran was up 9-2 early. La Verne would cut the lead to one-possession multiple times in the first half, but CLU was there for an answer every time. Cole, junior Palmer Chaplin, senior Kyle Ferreira and freshman Jared Wulbrun all hit clutch shots to push the lead back to multiple-possessions.
With CLU up 29-28 with 2:43 left, freshman Tyler Brabant made a layup and Ferreira nailed a three to push the lead to 34-28. After the Leopards hit two free throws, Chaplin scored on a buzzer-beating layup with one second left in the half. CLU took a 36-30 lead into the break. Cole had 16 points at the half to lead the Kingsmen. Cal Lutheran shot 50-percent from the field in the first and hit five three-pointers.
The second half was more of the same in the first 10 minutes. Every time Cal Lutheran got a little bit of room, La Verne would cut it back to one-possession. The Leopards were able to knot the score at 48 with 10:28 left in the game. Cole turned it on once again and scored 10 of CLU's next 11 points to give the Kingsmen a 59-54 lead with 5:42 left.
Great defense by both teams over the next stretch had the score at 59-55 with 3:00 minutes left. Brabant then added a three-pointer to give CLU its biggest lead of the second half. That three broke the game wide open as the Kingsmen pushed the lead to double-digits. CLU wouldn't let ULV back in the game as the Kingsmen defeated the Leopards 71-62.
The Kingsmen and Leopards were almost even in turnovers as CLU had eight to ULV's nine. The transition game is what stood out for Cal Lutheran. The Kingsmen scored 15 points off turnovers while holding the Leopards to only two.
Two more Kingsmen scored in double-digits as Ferreira and Chaplin had 15 and 11 points, respectively. Brabant was next with seven.
Cal Lutheran moved the ball around well as they tallied 14 assists. Sophomore Jarrett Powers led the Violet and Gold with four. Chaplin and Cole both had three and Wulbrun had two.
Cole was two rebounds shy of a double-double as he led Cal Lutheran with eight. Chaplin and Ferreira were also active on the boards. Chaplin pulled in seven rebounds and Ferreira added six.
The Kingsmen return home for their next SCIAC matchup. The Cal Lutheran men's and women's teams will host Whittier for a double-header on Saturday. The Regals play at 2 p.m. and the men are right after at 4.
Box Score: CLU 71, ULV 62
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director