REDLANDS, Calif. — Cal Lutheran men's basketball made four consecutive free throws over the final 34 seconds and clutch defense did the rest as the Kingsmen defeated the Redlands Bulldogs, 68-65, on Saturday afternoon.
It is the first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win of Head Coach Russell White's career and first of the season for the Kingsmen. The game was an instant classic and featured 11 ties, 24 lead changes and neither team led more than six.
After Redlands took a 65-64 lead, Connor Cole was fouled and converted both of his free throws to give Cal Lutheran the lead with 26 seconds left. Tough defense on the ensuing possession made it a hard shot for the Bulldogs and CLU got the ball back.
Jarrett Powers was fouled and made it a three-point game with just three seconds left. Cole put the finishing touch on the game as a steal off a long pass sealed the victory.
Miles Houston led the way for Cal Lutheran and tallied his season-high of 19 points, 7-for-8 from the field, and grabbed seven rebounds.
Cole Thomas scored 10-plus points for the seventh straight games as he chipped in with 13 points, going 5-of-8 from the field.
Cole and Lachlan Hannemann made it four Kingsmen in double-Digits and scored 11 and 10, respectively. Cole hit three big three-pointers and added five rebounds while Hannemann was great defensively with four blocks and four defensive rebounds.
The first half was highly competitive, totaling seven lead changes and four ties. The Kingsmen took the early lead as Cole drilled a three to make the score 10-6 with 14 minutes left. After a three from Redlands, Cole fired right back with another three to give CLU its four-point advantage back.
The game would go back-and-forth over the next few minutes before the Bulldogs took a 20-15 lead with 8:31 to go. Redlands took its biggest lead of the first half and the game, 23-17, before Cal Lutheran answered. Chaplin got the run going with a layup, Houston kept it going with a free throw and Lee tied it with a three. The Kingsmen made it eight straight points and took a 25-23 lead with 4:29 left as Houston recorded a layup.
Redlands bounced right back and took the lead a few minutes later with a 28-25 advantage. Cal Lutheran finished the half with a 5-0 run over the final 1:16. Lee converted a three-pointer and Houston made a layup to give CLU a 30-28 lead.
The second half turned out to be exactly like the first with ties and lead changes. Redlands quickly jumped out to a 34-30 lead, thanks to a 6-0 run, but the Kingsmen answered and the score was knotted at 34. The game continued to go back-and-forth with each team jumping in the lead every other minute.
Redlands finally looked like it got some traction in the game as it took a 61-57 lead with 2:17 left. Thomas answered with back-to-back free throws and Houston tied it up after a layup.
The shot of the game came with 41 seconds left as the Bulldogs led 63-61. A timeout by Coach White allowed the Kingsmen to draw up a play. Cal Lutheran came out with a plan and Cole nailed a three to put CLU up 64-63. Redlands did take the lead once more, but two made free throws from Cole and Powers sealed the victory for the Kingsmen.
The Kingsmen look for their second SCIAC win on Tuesday. Cal Lutheran remains on the road and will be at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps with tipoff set for 7 p.m.
Box Score: CLU 68, UR 65
CLU Instagram: @clusports
Sport IG: @cluhoops
CLU Twitter: @CLUSports
Sport Twitter: @CLUmBasketball
CLU Facebook: @clusports
Hashtags: #clusports #ownthethrone #goregals #gokingsmen #theSCIAC #ncaad3
Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director