Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Three members of the Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team scored in double figures, leading the Lutes to a 66-52 win over the University of La Verne on Saturday evening in day one of the Mission Inn Thanksgiving Classic inside Kaiser Permanente Arena.
Dylan Foreman scored the opening six points of the game as the Lutes (2-1) charged out to an 8-0 lead. The Leopards (0-4) battled back, opening up a five-point lead with 9:51 left in the opening half. Pacific Lutheran responded by holding LaVerne scoreless for the final six minutes of the first half, taking a 31-23 lead into the halftime break. The Lutes maintained at least a five-point buffer the entire second half en route to the 14-point win.
Leighton Kingma, Shay Curcuruto, and Dylan Foreman combined for 47 of PLU's 66 points against La Verne. Kingma led the team with 18 points, going four-for-four from the free throw line. Kingma pulled down 10 boards for his first double-double as a Lute. Curcuroto scores a career-high 15 points for the Lutes, hitting both of his three-point attempts. Foreman scored 14 points and had seven rebounds in a solid performance.
"Dylan set the tone for the game early on," said Head Coach Chad Murray. "He scored our first six points by just doing things seniors do and he continued his solid play throughout. Leighton had to work hard to find some openings in the LaVerne defense and he also helped us get the ball up the floor against their press. Shay was just really aggressive and tried not to let their pressure get to him. He took advantage of some things they gave him and really stepped up big for us."
As a team, PLU shot 41.8 percent (23 for 55) from the field. The Lutes also took advantage of their free throw attempts, making more free throws (15) than the Leopards had attempts (14).
The Lutes' Thanksgiving weekend continues with a game against host University of California-Santa Cruz tomorrow at 1 pm.
"Tomorrow I'd like to see us handle pressure better and limit the amount of empty possessions we have. Tonight in the first half in particular we struggled to get and stay organized offensively. When that happens we tend to take quick contested shots that aren't a part of our normal offensive flow. We were better in the second half but tomorrow I'd like to see us do it for 40 minutes."