Men’s basketball victorious in opening conference game


Photo by Alexa Weisbond - Reporter

Having lost four of their last five games coming into this one, the Kingsmen were in need of a win as more conference games await.

Alexa Weisbond, Reporter

California Lutheran University’s Kingsmen basketball team won their first Southern California  Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game of the season against the University of La Verne on Wednesday, Nov. 30 with a final score of 78-69. 

Following a back-and-forth start on Wednesday, Nov. 30, the Kingsmen struggled to build the momentum needed to separate themselves from the Leopards, before scoring 16 of the final 18 points of the game to secure a win in their opening conference game of the season for the second year in a row.

“Those two teams that played tonight are trying to get better, trying to get into the top half of the league. It was a big game for us to come out on top and get some momentum going into the next one,” Head Coach Russell White said.

The first half ended with La Verne scoring a 3-pointer, concluding the half 48-44 to the visitors. In the second half, the Leopards continued to have the upper hand, leading 67-62, which was when the Kingsmen began their comeback. The Kingsmen  locked in defensively and scored 34 points versus La Verne’s 21 to take the game. 

Sophomore shooting guard Jacob Martin said this was one of the Kingsmen’s better games this year. 

“Defensively we struggled in the first half, but we were able to pick it up in the second. I would say that helped us a lot. In the end, I would say we closed it out a lot better than the other games,” Martin said.

Junior Tommy Griffiths scored 14 points, second to junior Devon Lewis, who scored 24 and made six rebounds. Griffiths said that the Kingsmen were motivated to win the game after losing four of their previous five games. 

“We realized that we can’t lose this game, we’re already one in four coming in…we know that’s been lingering in our heads so we need to get better on defense. That’s been our main focus this whole year,” Griffiths said.

White said the Kingmen played very good defense and stuck with it in the second half. 

“They showed some toughness tonight. Things didn’t go our way for a long time… shots weren’t dropping, fouls, calls didn’t seem to go our way, but we stuck with it and persevered,” White said.

White said that he plans to steadily prepare the Kingsmen for the SCIAC season ahead, and hopes to use the victory against La Verne as a stepping stone. 

“Very diligently, piece by piece. Detail oriented, one day at a time. It’s a long season, it’s a long process, we made some steps tonight so hopefully we can build on those the next two days and go to Chapman on Saturday and get better again,” White said.

The Kingsmen’s next game is against University of California at Santa Cruz on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m., and their next conference game is on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. against Pomona-Pitzer. Both games will be at home.