Kingsmen Drop Thrivent Financial Tournament Title to Ephs

Epley leads Williams to tournament title

Jeremy Sulker-Hall returned to the starting line-up after an illness sidelined him on Saturday.

Photo: Tracy Maple

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Williams was the winner of the 2012 Thrivent Financial Tournament after defeating host Cal Lutheran 71-53 in the championship game tonight. Earlier in the day Luther cruised past Northland 93-42 in the consolation game.

Following the conclusion of the weekend, the 2012 Thrivent Financial All-Tournament team was announced and featured Taylor Epley as the MVP from Williams with James Klemm (Williams), Jayvaughn Nettles (CLU), Dan Wade (CLU), Tyler Wedemeier (Luther) and John Androus (Luther) also being selected. 

The final game of the tournament was controlled by the Ephs who opened a 32-23 halftime lead en route to the win. Williams (10-1) looked to Epley for 34 points, 18 coming in the first period on 6-for-8 shooting, which included a trio of three-pointers. He finished 10-for-14 from the field, tallying six total three-pointers and was a perfect 8-for-8 at the free-throw line on a night when Williams shot a combined 94.4 percent from the charity stripe.

Cal Lutheran (5-7) pulled within three at 43-40, but Williams quickly used an 11-2 run to take a 54-42 lead. Though Nettles cut the Kingsmen deficit to nine with a three-pointer at the 8:10 mark, Williams reciprocated on the ensuing possession to regain a double figure advantage they would not relinquish for the remainder of regulation. The Ephs opened as much as a 24 point lead in the second half.

Joining Epley in double figures for Williams was Sean Hoffmann who finished with 10. Nate Robertson handed out a game high six assists and also paced the Ephs with six rebounds. Matt McCreary came down with five. The duo along with teammate John Weinheimer recorded two steals apiece.

The Kingsmen looked to both Nettles and Wade for 12 points and Corey Quintana added 11 off the bench. Nettles came up with a game high four steals, adding three assists to share the team lead with Quintana and Steven Davis. Cal Lutheran shot 35.6 percent from the floor but was just 28 percent from three-point range and the free-throw shooting woes continued, converting just 4-for-10.

CLU out rebounded Williams 35-34 with 12 offensive boards and held the Ephs to just four second chance opportunities. Quintana led all players with nine rebounds and tied Williams’ Daniel Wohl with a pair of blocks. Quintana and teammate Jeremy Sulker-Hall each had three offensive boards for the Kingsmen in the contest. Sulker-Hall tallied a total of seven.

The consolation game went to Luther (7-4) in lopsided fashion behind a 14-point performance from Wedemeier who led the Norse for the second consecutive night. Luther shot 53.1 percent from the floor in the second stanza before posting an overall shooting percentage of 52.5. They also knocked down 48 percent of their three-point attempts. Both Androus and Nathan Meyer finished with 11 points for Luther and Meyer and Kyle Rosacker handed out four assists apiece.

On the glass Brian Nnaoji led all players with 16 rebounds, adding a block and eight points for Luther. Teammate Zach Matos grabbed six boards in the win while Wedemeier and Aaron Huber each recorded two blocks. Seven different players came up with a steal tonight for LC.

Shai Gray recorded a game high 20 points for Northland (0-8) and also came down with four rebounds. Adrian Flores led the Lumberjacks with seven boards and a block in the loss. NC shot just 24.8 percent as a unit and went just 3-for-21 from long range.   

Today was the final non-conference game for Cal Lutheran. The Kingsmen return to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Saturday, Jan. 5 when they host Occidental at 7:00 p.m. in the Gilbert Arena. The CLU women will face off with the Tigers at 5:00 p.m. as the front end of a double header. Both live stats and live video will be available for each game.

Box Score: LC 93, NC 42
Box Score: WIL 71, CLU 53