King's Men Fall to 2nd Ranked Whitman in Daytona Beach Shootout Opener

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DECEMBER 20, 2016


DAYTONA BEACH, FLA -- The Whitman College men's basketball team, ranked second nationally in NCAA Division III, opened a 50-28 halftime lead and never looked back in posting a 80-62 victory over King's College in the opening round of the Daytona Beach Shootout Tuesday night in Daytona Beach, Fla.

With the win, Whitman improved to 8-0 while King's slipped to 4-5. For the Monarchs, all five of their losses this season came to 2016 NCAA Division III national tournament qualifiers. 

After falling behind early 11-4 after Whitman made three of their first four shots from three-point range, the Monarchs used an inside bucket by Andrew Hudak, a driving lay-up from Connor Callejas, and a short jumper by Dan Rutecki to cut the lead to 11-10 with 14:48 left in the half.

King's eventually took its first lead when a Jake Barber jumper pushed the score to 13-12. After the teams were tied at 14-14, Tim Howell hit a three-pointer to put the Blues ahead 17-14, but Barber drained a three-pointer to knot the score at 17-17 with 10:46 on the clock.  

After the teams traded baskets to forge a 19-19 tie with 9:58 to play in the half, Whitman's defensive pressure began to take over.

King''s committed four turnovers over a three-minute span and missed five straight shots in a 16-0 run by the Blues to fall behind 39-16 with 6:45 left.  After three straight buckets from Rutecki, Hudak, and Ryan Wasley trimmed the lead to 39-25 with 4:17 remaining in the opening stanza, Whitman closed out the half on a 11-3 run to take a 50-28 lead into the half-time break. The Monarchs had 14 turnovers in the first half and made just 5-of-15 shots from the foul line.

In the second half the Monarchs came out with a 10-6 spurt to close to 56-38 after a pair of Chris Fazzini foul shots. After Whitman slowly built the lead to 61-40 with 12:07 to play, King's put together a 11-8 spurt to bring the score to 69-51 with 5:03 left but King's would come no closer. King's did, however, outscore Whitman 34-30 in the second half.

King's finished the game shooting 42.0 (21-50) percent from the field and 18.2 (2-11) from three-point range. The Monarchs were also 18-of-31 from the foul line and committed 26 turnovers in the game.

Barber topped the Monarchs with 11 points and six rebounds while Rutecki and Hudak each had eight points and seven rebounds. Chris Fazzini contributed seven points while John Fazzini posted six points and two boards. Callejas registered five points and a team-high nine rebounds.

For Whitman, Tim Howell and Jack Stewart led the way with 23 and 15 points respectively.

King's will play Washington & Lee University Wednesday at 8:00 PM in its tournament finale.