WHITTIER, Calif. – On the road for the first time in over three weeks, the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen felt right at home, earning a 57-43 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) victory over Whittier tonight at the Graham Athletic Center in a battle of purple and gold.
The Poets powered out to a 7-0 lead before Corey Quintana got the Kingsmen on the board. After Whittier pushed their lead to 14-2 over the next four minutes, Quintana knocked down a pair of free-throws, adding two more a minute later to cut the deficit to eight points with 10:54 to play. The Kingsmen continued to chip away and after dwindling the WC lead to three at 15-12 an offensive rebound and basket by Dylan Irwin increased the gap back to five points in favor of Whittier with 7:15 remaining in the first half.
CLU would go on a 12-0 run to close out the opening frame, taking a 24-17 lead into the locker rooms. Dan Wade forced a turnover and converted a layup at 3:09, which gave the Kingsmen their first advantage of the night. Fittingly, Quintana scored the final two points of the half as well, finishing with 10 in the opening 20 minutes of action.
The CLU squad would have possession of the ball to start the second stanza. Jeremy Sulker-Hall continued the offensive outpouring for CLU with the first bucket of the second half. At 12:36 Quintana again connected, giving the Kingsmen a double figure lead. He quickly sank a three-pointer on the ensuing CLU possession after earning a defensive rebound to increase the advantage.
Senior Jayvaughn Nettles took the team on his back, hitting three consecutive three-pointers, the final one with10:09 to play. The largest separation of the night came at 8:41 when Quintana scored on another layup, though the Poets did pull back within nine points at 3:08. Sulker-Hall made it an 11-point game with 59 seconds to play and Wade closed out the game with four free-throws on a night when the Kingsmen combined for a perfect performance (13-for-13) from the charity stripe.
Quintana led all players with a career-high 19 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double with nine to share the team lead with Nettles who also added 16 points. Sulker-Hall and Wade chipped in with 10 points apiece. Collin Knudsen handed out three assists.
Defensively Sulker-Hall finished with eight boards and three steals while Quintana added three blocks and a steal to his offensive performance. Guy Lynott and Michael Palmer each had a block as well and Nettles came away with a pair of steals.
Whittier was paced by Tyree Landrum with a 13-rebound, 11-point double-double.
Cal Lutheran (7-7, 3-2 SCIAC) will return to the Gilbert Arena to play the back end of a doubleheader with the women’s team on Saturday, Jan. 12 against La Verne. Teams are set to tip-off at 7:00 p.m.