Poets hand Kingsmen another close loss

On a night plagued by poor offense, the Kingsmen basketball team fell to the Whittier Poets 55-56.  The loss marks the fifth time this season that the Kingsmen have lost by two points or less.

The Kingsmen jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first three minutes of the game, only to have their lead taken by the Poets’ Eric Goedde and Willie Mebane whose combined shooting gave Whittier a 16-15 lead with 7:05 left in the first half.

Junior guard Michael Palmer hit a jumper followed by a three pointer by sophomore guard Martin Flowers to end the first half. This brought the Kingsmen within one point.

Due to Collin Knudsen and junior point guard Steven Davis’ injuries, freshman point guard Dan Wade was thrust into the starting role, joining his fellow freshman center Corey Quintana.  Quintana finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds while Wade had seven points, two rebounds and one steal.

Just 27 seconds into the second half, Wade hit a three pointer to give the Kingsmen a quick 30-28 lead.  Thanks to scores from Quintana, Flowers and senior point guard Jordan Williams, the Kingsmen jumped to a 45-38 lead with 10:10 left to go in the game.  However, the Poets went on a quick 9-0 run to again erase the Kingsmen’s lead.

“We definitely played hard and we battled.  We matched their physicality, but there were a lot of silly turnovers and we weren’t able to make adjustments,” said Flowers, who finished the night with 13 points.

The Kingsmen tied the game up twice in the last minute of regulation with a couple of layups from sophomore Jeremy Sulker-Hall, who finished with 14 points.  However, the Poets’ junior forward Tyree Landrum made a layup to go up with 24 seconds left, sealing the 56-55 Poet victory.

“We played well and we were really tough, but we were trading baskets at the end and it just didn’t go our way,” said Palmer.

In their first meeting, the Kingsmen beat the Poets 57-43.  This time it seemed the Poets were ready for the stingy Kingsmen defense.

“They got away from us a little bit more in transition,” said Kingsmen assistant coach Geoff Dains.   “We threw them off the first time with the zone, but they were prepared for it this time.”

Despite the loss, the Kingsmen flashed signs of a great defense. CLU held the Poets, who have averaged about 80 points per game since their prior loss to the Kingsmen, to only 56 points.  The Kingsmen also held the Poets’ Chris Barnes-Williams, who averages 15.3 points per game, to only seven points on the night.

“We’ve been in every game.  Our guys are doing a great job of listening, coming to practice every day with a purpose and practicing hard,” said Dains.  “We’ve got great kids that play really hard and we know what we’re going to get day in and day out.”


Jase Magarifuji
Staff Writer
Published Feb. 6, 2013