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November 21, 2011

Lutes Prepare To Host PLU Thanksgiving Classic

THIS WEEK: The Pacific Lutheran University men's basketball team welcomes three programs to Parkland this weekend for the PLU Thanksgiving Classic. The two-day tournament will feature the University of Wisconsin - River Falls, Evergreen State College, and the University of Puget Sound. Pacific Lutheran enters the weekend with a 2-0 record after winning both of its games at the 2011 Tip-off Classic hosted by UPS.

Date Pacific Lutheran University Thanksgiving Classic
Friday, Novermber 25 Evergreen State vs University of Puget Sound 4:00 p.m.
  St. Joseph's (Brooklyn) vs Pacific Lutheran Women 6:00 p.m.
  Wisconsin - River Falls vs Pacific Lutheran Men 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 26 Evergreen State vs Pacific Lutheran Men 2:00 p.m.
  Wisconsin - River Falls vs University of Puget Sound 4:00 p.m.

FLYING WITH THE FALCONS: The University of Wisconsin - River Falls Falcons are 2-1 through the team's first three games this season. Senior Shane Manor leads the Falcons this season averaging 18.7 points per game. The 6-5 forward is also averaging nine rebounds per contest. Senior Wade Guerin, a 6-8 center, is averaging 10 points and 8.7 rebounds through three games. The Lutes and Falcons have met one other time in the series history. During the 2003-04 season, the Falcons came away with a 74-63 decision over the Lutes.

DIGGING FOR GEODUCKS: Evergreen State College has had a tough time adjusting to the graduation of two-time All-American Nate Menefee. The Geoducks are off to a 0-5 start (not counting a pair of exhibition losses) in the 2011-12 season. Guard Tyrell Stephens leads the Geoduck offense through the team's first five games. The senior poured in 19 points with the help of five three-point field goals in Evergreen's last game against Lewis-Clark State College. Pacific Lutheran is 3-8 all-time against the Geoducks.

DUO EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: James Conti and Cameron Schilling have been named to the 2011 Tip-off Classic All-Tournament Team for their outstanding play against the University of La Verne and Portland Bible College. Conti, a senior point guard, averaged 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game in the Lutes two victories. Pacific Lutheran got strong play down low from junior Cameron Schilling. The forward averaged 13 points and eight rebounds per game to earn All-Tournament honors.

PLU 77, PORTLAND BIBLE 46: Pacific Lutheran dominated the much shorter Portland Bible Wildcats on the boards in romping to a 77-46 men's basketball win at the UPS Tip-Off Classic at the University of Puget Sound's Memorial Fieldhouse. The Lutes grabbed 39 rebounds, led by Cameron Schilling with 12, on the way to opening the season with a 2-0 record. Portland Bible is now 2-6 after the loss. The Wildcats, without a player taller than 6-1, could not match the Lutes on the boards, managing just 21 during the game. While the Lutes swept 14 rebounds on the offensive end, the Wildcats managed just two offensive boards. In addition, one night after shooting 15-for-27 from three-point range in a close loss to Puget Sound, they made just 5-for-16 from beyond the arc against a Pacific Lutheran defense that made the 'Cats work for every shot. As they had the night before in a season-opening win against La Verne, the Lutes opened this game with a three-point basket from Drew Earnest, and they never trailed thereafter. They took their first double-digit lead of the night at 18-8 on James Conti's jumper less than four minutes into the game. Portland Bible cut its deficit to five points on a jumper by Garrett Powless and a long three-point bomb by Vicente Cruz, but once the Lutes took a 25-15 advantage on a Zachary Klein jumper with 8:03 left in the half, they never led by less than double digits the rest of the way. All 16 players on the PLU roster saw action in the game. Conti led the way with 14 points, followed by Terrell Williams with 13 and both Earnest and Kai Hoyt with 10 apiece. Williams was 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. The Lutes shot 30-for-62 from the field, good for 48 percent, while the Wildcats were 15-for-38, or 40 percent.

PLU 73, LA VERNE 59: 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.