PASADENA, Calif. - Shooting 64 percent from the field in the second half, the Pacific Lutheran men's basketball team rallied from a three-point halftime deficit to beat Cal Lutheran, 70-58, in Saturday's first game of the SCIAC Classic at Caltech's Braun Athletic Center.
Trailing 29-26 at the intermission, the Lutes came out on fire in the second half, shooting 16-for-25, including 4-for-7 from three point range, to rally for the win over the Kingsmen. The Lutes also shot 8-for-9 from the charity stripe in the final period.
Both teams shot 41 percent from the field in a low-scoring first half. Cal Lutheran took a 31-26 lead 31 seconds into the final period on Aaron Fisher's layup, but the Lutes tied it when senior wing Kyle MacTaggart nailed a three-point shot with 18:22 remaining. Kwaminique Brandon hit the second of two free throws to put Cal Lutheran back on top, 32-31, but MacTaggart hit two free throws to put the Lutes back in front, and they would not trail the rest of the way.
PLU maintained a lead between five and eight points for the majority of the second half, though Cal Lutheran pulled within three points at 55-52 on Aaron Van Klaveren's layup with 5:39 to play. The Lutes eventually opened up a 10-point lead, 66-56, on Victor Bull's layup with 1:47 remaining, and they hit all four of their free throws inside the final minute to keep the Kingsmen at bay.
MacTaggart led a balanced PLU scoring attack with 12 points, followed by junior point guard James Conti with 11 points. Frosh wing Kai Hoyt and senior wing Curtis Trondsen both came off the bench to chip in 10 points to the victory. Bull, a senior post, led the Lutes with eight rebounds, while Conti contributed a team-high four assists.
Cal Lutheran, which shot just 38 percent from the field for the game, got a game-high 21 points from Greg Grimm, who also had 10 rebounds. Van Klaveren led all players with 13 rebounds as the Kingsmen enjoyed a 42-35 advantage in that statistic.
On Sunday afternoon, the SCIAC Classic moves over the Cal Lutheran gym in Thousand Oaks, where the Lutes will play Caltech (3-5) at 3 p.m. In Saturday's second game, Caltech posted its third straight win for the first time since the 1994-95 season, beating UC Santa Cruz, 63-62.
- PLU -