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Lutes Give Valiant Effort But Eventually Succumb to Seattle U.

Drew Earnest hit six three-point shots in the second half.
Drew Earnest hit six three-point shots in the second half.

SEATTLE - Cameron Schilling had a strong overall performance and Drew Earnest lit up the scoreboard in the final 20 minutes on Wednesday, but their combined 37 points weren't enough as Pacific Lutheran fell to NCAA Division I Seattle University, 58-49, at Key Arena.

Seattle is now 2-1 this season while the loss drops PLU to 0-3. And though it was a loss for the Lutes, their performance was hardly what the host Redhawks expected from a team that they had beaten by 48 points last year in an exhibition game.

Schilling carried the Lutes early and Earnest, after missing all five shots from beyond the three-point line in the opening half, hit six of them in the final period.

After Terrell Williams tallied PLU's first basket to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Redhawks, Schilling scored 10 consecutive Pacific Lutheran points. The senior wing hit a three-point shot, a layup and a jumper, and then another three-pointer, to cut PLU's deficit to 13-12 with 14:12 left in the first half.

Pacific Lutheran continued to hang around as back-door cuts and layups by Daniel Wruble and Earnest made it 20-16 Seattle with 9:16 on the clock.

Neither team scored again until Sterling Carter hit a free throw for the home team with 6:47 left in the half, and he added a three-point hoop from the right wing about one minute later to put his team on top, 24-16.

Meanwhile, the Lutes' scoring drought continued all the way until Bryce Miller's layup with 2:03 left in the half. During that seven-plus minute stretch, Pacific Lutheran committed six turnovers and missed seven shots.

Amazingly, the Lutes were still in it as the basket pulled them to within six points at 24-18. The Redhawks, however, closed the half with six straight points, including a Clarence Trent dunk, to take a 30-18 lead into the intermission.

Not counting Schilling's 4-for-8 shooting, Pacific Lutheran was 4-for-20 from the field, or 20 percent.

Things started well for the Lutes in the opening minutes of the second half as Earnest hit a layup and Schilling added a free throw. Earnest, a senior guard, hit back-to-back three-point shots, the second coming with 16:18 remaining, to cut Seattle's advantage to 33-28. That seemed to wake up the Redhawks, who scored 10 straight points to take a 43-28 lead with 11:50 left in the game. Allen Tate's baseline drive and thundering right-handed dunk provided a highlight reel play during the surge.

Just when it seemed like the Redhawks would run away and hide, the Lutes again came back with a run of their own. Schilling scored a layup and Earnest followed with two more three balls as Seattle's lead shrank to 43-36.

With the Redhawks leading 51-43, Daniel Landram hit a long three from the right wing to make it a five-point game with 5:06 left. Seattle replied with what proved to be a game-deciding six-point run, including another Trent dunk with about two minutes remaining, as the Lutes went about 3 1/2 minutes without scoring.

Earnest hit his final three-point attempt of the night to finish 6-for-11 from long range, but Seattle was able to finish off the game and pick up the victory.

Earnest led all scorers with 22 points and he also contributed three of PLU's 10 steals in the game. Schilling finished with 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds to go with three assists and two steals. That duo combined to shoot 14-for-28 from the floor, but the other 10 Lutes to see action combined for 5-for-27 accuracy. Overall, the Lutes shot 35 percent overall and 39 percent from three-point range.

Trent led his team with 17 points, but he was the only one in double figures as the Redhawks shot 21-for-51 from the field, or 41 percent. The much bigger and bulkier Redhawks enjoyed a 41-30 rebounding advantage, led by Deshaun Sunderhaus and Carter with seven apiece.

Pacific Lutheran returns to action this weekend when it hosts the PLU Thanksgiving Classic. Puget Sound plays Eastern Oregon at 6 p.m. Friday, followed by PLU against Evergreen State at 8 p.m. UPS faces Evergreen at 4 p.m. Saturday, followed by PLU versus Eastern Oregon at 6 p.m.

- PLU -