Photo by: Tony Leon/Actionwestphotography.com
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Basketball team fell unlucky Saturday afternoon as Cal Lutheran University came away with a "Hail Mary" as time expired pulling off the 71-70 victory.
Kyle Ferreira hit the game winning shot for the Kingsmen as time expired receiving the inbounds pass in the right corner on Cal Lutheran's side of the court. He then dribbled around two defenders and then put up a halfcourt shot that banked in sending CLU to the miraculous win.
With the loss the Poets have dropped three of their last four and move to 6-11, 3-5 SCIAC but still sit in a tie for 5th in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic conference (SCIAC) Standings.
It was a back and forth game with nine ties and 19-lead changes. Whittier took an early lead and led by as many as seven, which came at the 13:23 mark in the first half. Kenyatta Louder (Compton, Calif.) added a pair of free throws and a lay-in to start the run and Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) ended it with a triple giving WC a 11-4 lead. But after that CLU put together eight unanswered to grab their first lead at 12-11. Whittier stayed within striking distance after that but still trailed at 22-16 and then 34-27 at the break.
Whittier started off the second half quickly going on a 14-4 run, which included a three-pointer from Louder, a three-point play from Potthoff and lay-ins from Journey Shank (Burbank, Calif.) and Kyle Price (Rocklin, Calif.). This swung the momentum giving WC a 41-38 lead at the 15:34 mark. Going back and forth over the next 12 minutes, Whittier saw themselves leading by one 60-59 with 3:58 to play following two free-throws from Potthoff. Ferreira then converted a three-pointer for CLU followed by a Jarrett Powers layup that gave Cal Lutheran a 64-60 lead.
After that the fireworks commenced with Louder cutting the deficit in half with a layup and Shank came back less than a minute later to knock down a triple that pulled WC within one at 66-65. With 1:01 to play, Louder knocked down a jumper that put the Poets on top 67-66 but right after that Austin Cole gave it right back to CLU with a layup with :16 seconds left. The next time down the floor with :04 seconds left, Conner Longmire (Tarzana, Calif.) put up a deep three, which was off the mark, but Louder was there for the offensive board and the put back and the foul, which gave Whittier a 69-68 lead. Louder though wasn't able to complete the three-point play giving the ball back to the Kingsmen. On the very next inbounds play, Jacob Aruta (Stockton, Calif.) came up with a huge steal, forcing CLU to foul. He would knock down the first putting the Poets on top by two. But on the second, he would miss, while committing a lane violation, stopping the clock with :02 seconds left, allowing CLU to setup for the eventual buzzer-beater.
Whittier shot 39.4% from the field and 28.6% from three-point territory. They were outrebounded 39-34 but forced 17 Cal Lutheran turnovers, turning them into 15 points, while holding the edge 28-26 in the paint.
Louder finished with 23-points and seven boards to lead the Poets. Shank had a big night with 16-points to go with three rebounds, four assists, and two steals and Longmire added 11 points off the bench. Potthoff registered eight points with eight boards and Kyle Price (Rocklin, Calif.) finished with seven points and four rebounds.
Whittier returns home to host the University of Redlands this Wednesday, January 23 with game time set for 7:00pm. The Poets look to avenge their earlier loss to the Bulldogs, which came back on December 5 (69-64).