Vikings men split pair in California -dlh

Andy York

The 10th-ranked Viking men’s basketball team won their first game of the Tom Byron Classic in Santa Barbara, California over winter break by demolishing Lewis and Clark College, but lost a tight barnburner to the host, Westmont College, in the finale.
The Vikings completely dominated Lewis and Clark in the opener of the Tom Byron Classic. The Vikings used a 29-3 run late in the first half to take an overwhelming 39-11 lead at the half. The Vikings eased up in the second half and cruised to an easy 71-40 win. LU was led by freshman Andy Hurley who finished with 14 points. Kyle MacGillis, the other Viking scorer in double figures, had 11. Every player on the Vikings bench got playing time.
The Vikings took on the host Westmont, a NAIA school from Division I, in the final. The Vikings only shot 38 percent in the first half, and found themselves down 10 at the half 28-18. The Vikings shooting did not get much better in the second half, and when they needed three-point shots to drop, they were nowhere to be found.
The Vikes shot an atrocious 3-21 from behind the arc in the game, and Westmont would have their lead cut to two with just under three minutes remaining, but a three-pointer by Kyle Bechler brought the lead back up to five and out of range for LU, which lost 52-46. Dan Evans led Lawrence in the game with 11 points, and Brendan Falls added 10 for LU.
The Vikings will restart their quest for a second straight MWC crown this weekend when they reopen the conference schedule against Beloit. Both LU coach John Tharp and LU All-American Chris Braier will be in search of career records.
Tharp, with a win, will break Art Denney’s all time wins record as coach of the LU men’s basketball team. Tharp tied the record with the win over Lewis and Clark. His career record of 151-93, and its resulting .619 winning percentage is the highest for any LU coach with at least 25 victories.
Braier should easily break Brad Child’s career record for rebounds. Child’s record is 731, and Braier comes into tomorrow’s game only one behind that number. Though only a junior, Braier is making his way up the point-scoring list as well. The Vikings will have their home MWC opener Tuesday night at 7:30 against the Green Knights of St. Norbert.
It’s Greek Night at the game, so all fraternity and sorority members who wear letters will be entered into a drawing to compete in a contest at halftime. For those fans who can’t make it, the game will be broadcast and webcast on 91.1 WLFM.