THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Senior Kyle Ferreira hit a half-court buzzer beater as time expired to give the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen a 71-70 win over the Whittier Poets on Saturday night in Gilbert Arena.
The Kingsmen had to go the length of the floor with three seconds left in the game. Ferreira received the inbound pass in the right corner on Cal Lutheran's side of the court. He dribbled past two defenders before putting up the shot from mid-court. He banked in the go-ahead basket and a mosh pit ensued.
The win helps the Kingsmen get back in the race for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athleitc Conference (SCIAC) playoff spot. The Kingsmen are currently tied for fifth at 3-5 in conference play. Overall, CLU is 5-11 after winning two consecutive SCIAC games.
On top of the buzzer beater, Ferreira and classmate Austin Cole both had a double-double. Cole scored a game-high 25 points and added 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Ferreira tallied 23 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
The duo kept the offense moving and junior Palmer Chaplin joined them in having five assists each. Sophomore Jarrett Powers came off the bench and dished out four assists. Altogether, CLU had 22 assists.
Powers helped the Kingsmen with eight much-needed points and Chaplin added five more. Powers made two-three pointers and recorded a layup on a fast break. Chaplin was a huge help on the glass and grabbed seven rebounds.
In a back-and-forth game, there were nine ties and 19 lead changes. Whittier took the early lead and was up by as much seven before CLU fired back. Down 11-4, senior Michael Wadsworth had a layup and Cole and Powers hit back-to-back three-pointers and the Kingsmen had their first lead of the game at 12-11.
Cal Lutheran continued to build their lead as Cole nailed a three and Ferreira added layup. The Kingsmen were up 22-16 with 7:35 left in the half. CLU kept the distance and had a 34-27 lead at the half.
Whittier came out and tied the score early in the second half. The Poets would actually take the lead and were up 47-43 with 13 minutes left in the game. The teams would exchange baskets over the next 12 minutes and Whittier was up 67-66 with 1:01 left. Caleb Thomas made two clutch baskets during the stretch, on top of what his teammates did, as CLU kept the game close.
With sixteen seconds left, Cole made came up with a big steal and converted on the layup via goaltending as Cal Lutheran took a 68-67 lead. A layup with four seconds left put the Poets back ahead 69-68. After a Kingsmen turnover, Cal Lutheran had to foul. The Poets made the first free throw and got a violation on the second after not hitting the rim as the lead stayed at just two-points. The missed free throw was just what the Kingsmen needed as Ferriera drilled the game-winner.
Cal Lutheran is looking to continuing their climb in the SCIAC playoff race as the Kingsmen host Chapman on Wednesday with the tipoff set for 7 p.m. in Gilbert Arena.
Interview with Kyle Ferreira and Austin Cole:
Box Score: CLU 71, WC 70
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director