THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Another season sweep for the Cal Lutheran men’s basketball team is in the books, but it was not an easy one tonight for the Kingsmen against a hungry Caltech team that lead at halftime and for the majority of the contest. CLU used a 27-point second half and outscored CIT 8-5 in overtime to take down the Beavers, 63-60, in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown inside of the Gilbert Arena.
Neither team seized control nor showed too much spark throughout the 45 minutes of action, with the exception of a dunk on each end coming from Kc Emezie for Caltech and Dan Wade for Cal Lutheran. In a game that saw 13 ties and four lead changes, with a gap never larger than five on either side, Caltech outshot Cal Lutheran 40.6 percent to 33.9 percent and also out rebounded the Violet and Gold, 44-43, but the will to win for the Kingsmen was strong enough to prevail.
With 1:15 remaining in regulation Andrew Hogue gave Caltech a two possession lead on an offensive rebound and a put-back bucket, but Arik Smith completed an and-one on the next play of the game and pulled the Kingsmen within one at 53-52. Lawrence Lee connected for Caltech, but Smith responded by knotting the teams at 55-55 by way of his first three-pointer of the night with 33 ticks to play.
After a CIT timeout the Beavers used the clock, looking to take the last shot of the night, but Collin Knudsen had different plans, recording a block and sending the teams to overtime.
In the extra period Luke Lango hit a three-pointer on Caltech’s first opportunity. Another big block for CLU came from Smith and the defense continued to produce as Knudsen forced a Beavers turnover with 1:31 to go. A wide open shot for Corey Quintana did not fall, but after nabbing the offensive rebound he was fouled and connected for the first to get CLU within one at 60-59. Missing the second free-throw allowed Guy Lynott to grab the rebound and Smith promptly layed it in for Cal Lutheran’s first lead since the 13:31 mark of the opening half. Coltrane Powdrill put in a pair of free-throws with 15 seconds remaining in OT to seal the win for CLU, though Caltech had the final opportunity of the night.
After being limited to five points in the first half, Smith stormed back to score 17 over the final 25 minutes. Quintana also broke into double digits tonight with 12. Michael Palmer scored the first five CLU points of the night and finished with eight on 2-for-3 shooting with a pair of three-pointers in as many attempts.
Defensively, Powdrill led all players with nine rebounds, followed by seven from Quintana and five apiece from Smith and Jeremy Sulker-Hall. The Kingsmen combined for seven blocks with Palmer, Quintana and Smith each tallying two. Knudsen, Lynott and Powdrill each came away with a pair of steals tonight as well.
The Gilbert Arena is apparently a comfortable place for Caltech to play as the Beavers earned one of their three season victories in Thousand Oaks this season by defeating Illinois Tech as part of a co-hosted classic in December.
Caltech (3-18, 0-12 SCIAC) put five different players in double figures with Lango leading the way with 13 ahead of Hogue (12), David LeBaron (11) and Emezie and Lee with 10 apiece. Three players, LeBaron, Hogue and Nick Buoninonti, each came down with seven rebounds and Emezie and LeBaron finished with two blocks and two steals, respectively.
Cal Lutheran (17-4, 8-4 SCIAC) is on the road for the next two games, first traveling to La Verne on Saturday, Feb. 8 for a tip-off with the Leopards at 5:00 p.m. as the first game of a double header with the women’s team.