Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – Despite four starters scoring in double digits, the Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team was unable to match the firepower of 10th-ranked University of Saint Thomas, dropping an 80-72 decision on Friday evening in the opening day of the Doug McArthur Classic inside Memorial Gymnasium.
The Lutes (1-1) owned an early 21-15 lead with 10:41 left before the defending Division III National Champion Tommies (1-1) pulled off a 28-6 run over the next eight minutes, hitting six three-pointers to take a 43-27 lead with 2:05 left in the first half and took a 43-31 lead into the halftime break.
PLU battled back in the second half, closing within four on a Jared Christy layup but was ultimately unable to come any closer.
The Lutes had a pair of players with double-doubles. Jared Christy led PLU with 19 points while yanking down 11 rebounds. Garth West had 10 points and 10 boards. Kyle Sawtell was close to having his own double double, scoring 18 points with 7 rebounds. Dylan Foreman scored 16 points.
"We played a tough brand of basketball and showed that no matter who we have on the court, they are going to contribute and make it difficult for opposing teams to beat us." Foreman said. "Take away that run St. Thomas had in the first half and that game is a win."
PLU had the advantage in several different categories. PLU scored 10 points off of turnovers to St Thomas' 7. The Lutes scored 28 points in the paint, six more than their opponent. The Lutes outrebounded St Thomas 42-31, leading to a 19-13 advantage in second chance points.
"We showed what we can do when we rebound the ball well and play solid defense," Foreman said. "Proud of the resilience, especially in the second half."
The difference in the game came from the bench, as the St. Thomas bench scored 39 points to PLU's 2. The help off the bench from STU came in the form of Michael Hannon and Connor Bair. Hannon dropped 24 points, going five-for-eight from three point range. He sank all five of his free throw attempts. Bair added 15 points.
The Lutes continue to the Doug McArthur Classic with a matchup against Evergreen State. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.