Cameron Schilling scored 18 points to lead four players in double figures as Pacific Lutheran opened its 2011-12 men's basketball season with a 73-59 win over La Verne in the opening game of the UPS Tip-Off Classic at Memorial Fieldhouse.
Schilling, a junior post, was 8-for-15 from the field and 2-for-3 at the foul line. Drew Earnest opened the game with a three-point shot on the way to scoring 16 points, and Kai Hoyt and James Conti both added 14 points in the winning cause. Hoyt finished the game shooting 7-for-9 from the field.
Trevor Woodland had 19 points to lead La Verne, which fell to 0-2 for the season.
Earnest got his team off to a fast start with a trey just 30 seconds into the game, and the Lutes never trailed after that. Leading 24-20 with 4:08 left in the opening period, PLU closed the half with an 8-1 run to take a 32-21 lead at the intermission. The Lutes shot 43 percent in the first half and limited the Leopards to just 32 percent from the field.
The game was much more open offensively in the final 20 minutes with PLU out-scoring the visitors from California by a 41-38 margin. Both teams shot the ball significantly better, the Lutes going 12-for-22 for 55 percent compared to La Verne's 14-for-26, or 54 percent.
Pacific Lutheran built a 13-point lead at 36-23 on a jumper by Earnest 2 1/2 minutes into the second half, but the Leopards came back and cut their deficit to seven points, 40-33, on Jake Veith's three-pointer with 14:10 remaining.
Veith later hit a pair of free throws with 6:33 on the clock as La Verne pulled to within 55-49, but PLU responded with an 8-0 run over the next two minutes. Conti, Schilling and Johnny Tveter all hit a pair of free throws and Conti bagged a jumper during the decisive run. After that, the Lutes never led by less than double digits.
La Verne enjoyed a 33-26 advantage on the boards, led by Tyler Hoyt with six. Earnest led all players with seven rebounds for the Lutes. PLU won the game at the foul line, knocking down 21-for-27, including a perfect 8-for-8 by Conti.
PLU returns to action at the Tip-Off Classic at 6 p.m. Saturday when it plays Portland Bible.
- PLU -