Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team struggled offensively on Saturday in the final game of the D3Hoops.com Classic at South Point Area, as Central College bankrupted the Lutes 71-48.
PLU (3-7) was sabotaged by a cold shooting opening half, shooting just 23.5 percent (eight-for-34) in the opening half, including a one-for-11 effort from three-point range as the Dutch (5-7) opened up a 33-17 halftime advantage. PLU found the bottom of the net with more regularity in the second half, going 12-for-32 from the field.
"We just need to keep getting better," head coach Chad Murray said. "We are going to have nights like this where shots don't fall. I actually thought we did a pretty good job defensively. We held them to well below their average for the year. Their leading scorer only had two points. So we know we'll never beat anyone scoring 48 points but defensively we hung in there pretty well."
Coming off the bench, Josh Baird lead the team in scoring. Baird was four-for-five on shot attempts, scoring nine points while Markus Glenn also added nine. Sean McLaughlin had an efficient performance as well, hitting three of his four shots for six points while also grabbing four rebounds. Bailey Alabanza knocked down his first-career three point attempt while Leighton Kingma hauled in a team-high six rebounds. Shay Curcuruto hit two of three shots to add four points off the bench. Glenn, who tallied 10 points the night before, was named to the nine-player D3Hoops.com Classic All-Tournament Team.
PLU did a better job of sharing the ball offensively with 11 players scoring a basket. The Lutes also took care of the ball better, winning the turnover margin 13-12. PLU took advantage, scoring nine points from those 13 turnovers. PLU pulled down 39 rebounds on the game, scoring 11 second chance points.
As conference play approaches, coach Murray wants his guys to focus on what they can control.
"We want to stay focused on getting better in all areas," Murray said. "Both individually and collectively as a group."
PLU returns to the court on Friday, when the team travels to Linfield College for a game that starts at 8 p.m. Then on Saturday, the team stops at George Fox University on their way home for a game that begins at 6 p.m.