LOS ANGELES — Cal Lutheran men's basketball cut the lead to four points with 33 seconds left, but the Occidental Tigers were able to hold off the Kingsmen down the stretch and won 67-61 on Saturday afternoon.
Cal Lutheran has had its fair share of close games this year, with six games being decided by six points or less. Following the loss today, the Kingsmen are 2-4 in those games.
Houston showed off an all-around game as he added two assists and two blocks. He was big for the Purple and Gold on the glass with four of his boards being offensive.
Cole Thomas made it three Kingsmen in double-digits and chipped in with 12 points to go with five rebounds, two assists and one steal. Jarrett Powers helped move the ball around and dished out a team high five assists.
Altogether, the Kingsmen starting five scored 52 of the 61 points. The bench points for each team was exactly the same as Cal Lutheran and Occidental benches botch scored just nine points.
The difference in the game was three-pointers and turnovers. The Kingsmen encountered a cold-shooting night from long range, going 6-for-21 with a percentage of 28.6. On the other hand, the Tigers made on more three-pointer and six less attempts and recorded a percentage of 46.7. For turnovers, CLU committed 14 while OXY had just seven.
In the first 17 minutes of the game, both teams exchanged baskets as the lead went back-and-forth. Cal Lutheran had the first lead of the game and was up 9-4 after a Mallory three. From that point on, the game was tied seven times. During the span, Oxy responded with a run to put themselves up five, but CLU answered.
The big run of the game came with 2:41 left in the half. With the score tied at 27, the Tigers went on a 10-2 run and took a 37-29 lead to the locker room.
To start the second, the Kingsmen got baskets from Houston and Thomas to put the game at two-possessions. The score remained close over the next few minutes before Oxy went on a run and took a 46-35 lead with 13:25 left. The Tigers continued to put distance between them and the Kingsmen and had their biggest lead of the game, 57-43, with 6:26 left.
Cal Lutheran responded with a run of its own, slowly chipping away at the lead. A jump shot by Mallory made it 62-55 with 1:50 left and a three-pointer from Powers had the score at 64-58 with 47 seconds.
A foul by the Kingsmen had the Tigers had 1-and-1 at the foul line. After a missed free throw, Powers made it a four-point game with 33 seconds left. That was as close as the Kingsmen would get as the Tigers added a layup on the next trip down and then rebounded CLU's missed three-pointer on the ensuing possession. The Tigers escaped with a 67-61 win at home.
The Kingsmen (3-18 overall, 1-11 SCIAC) return home for a game before going back on the road for two more. Cal Lutheran host La Verne on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Gilbert Arena.
Box Score: OXY 67, CLU 61
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director