California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Kingsmen basketball kicks off season with perfect start

Daisy Calderon
The Kingsmen kicked off the 2023-2024 season 2-0 with wins against the North Central Cardinals and the Puget Sound Loggers.

The California Lutheran University men’s basketball team began its 2023-24 season with a 71-63 win against the Illinois North Central College Cardinals.

“It was far from a picture-perfect game in any way, shape, or form, but good teams win when they don’t play their best and we didn’t play our best tonight so it’s good to get a win,” Head Men’s Basketball Coach Russell White said. “We’re just gonna keep trying to get better.”

The Cardinals got off on the front foot and were up by 13 points with nine minutes left to play in the first half. However, the Kingsmen regained control of the game and ended the first half with a 39-34 lead.

“First half we were kinda just figuring out what the game plan was and how to just adapt to how they were coming, and then we just realized we had to lock in on defense, keep pushing and swinging the ball side to side, and that’s how we got more open shots,” senior point guard Devon Lewis said.

Senior center Tommy Griffitts, who scored a layup with two seconds remaining to claim the Kingsmen’s first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament victory last season, scored a 3-pointer buzzer-beater at the end of the first half.

“The first-half buzzer beater was pretty cool,” Griffitts said. “Yeah, that was pretty fun, but I think a couple went in for me so that was nice and yeah, good to see…and I think second half, I was being a force down there.”

White echoed Griffitts’ statement, and said Griffitts was great “defensively with rebounds and block shots” in the second half. Griffitts led the way in points for the Kingsmen with 15, followed by Lewis, who earned Cal Lutheran 14 points throughout the game.

“We came out a little nervous on defense, so we kinda wanted to get the jitters out of the way. It’s the first home game and everything, but we went down a little bit at the first, and like halfway through the first half, but then we kinda started to get on our groove and turn it up on defense specifically,” Griffitts said.

According to, the Kingsmen had three turnovers and scored 12 3-pointers during the game. Although there were moments during the second half when the Cardinals were two to three points away from the Kingsmen, the home team remained in the lead for the entirety of it. 

“One of my favorites was when I drove to the basket, kicked out to the left to Desi Burrage, and he had a big three at the beginning of the half. And then later down the stretch, I had one of those pull-back jump shots that went in, and that was probably one of my favorites as well,” Lewis said.

Following a successful 2022-23 season in which the Kingsmen made program history by lifting their first SCIAC Tournament title, they are looking forward to building their form this season.

“To get the dust off and figure out how to win, it felt great, and then we’re just gonna build on that for Saturday’s game and then hopefully get another W,” Lewis said.

Cal Lutheran made it two wins from two on Saturday, Nov. 11 against the University of Puget Sound with an 82-53 win over the Loggers. The Kingsmen will fly east for a trio of games in Virginia and Maryland, with their first coming up versus Randolph-Macon College on Sunday, Nov. 19.

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