Coach Justin Lunt has given just about every basketball-related explanation over the years on why his University of Puget Sound men’s basketball squad has played below certain standards.
On Friday, he was right in sync at the tournament his Loggers are were playing — the PLU Thanksgiving Classic.
“We ate too much turkey last night,” Lunt said.
On Saturday, the razor-sharp Loggers nearly upended 10th-ranked St. Thomas of Minnesota in the finale of their tournament. Six days later, they played careless and sluggish against a winless opponent.
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Yet they found a way to win, edging UT-Dallas, 74-73, at Olson Auditorium in Parkland.
Point guard Kohl Meyer led five UPS scorers in double figures with 15 points. But it was the senior’s heads-up defensive play for the Loggers (3-1) in the final seconds that closed the door on the Crusaders (0-3).
Inbounding at midcourt with 2.4 seconds to go, UT-Dallas opted for a long pass to 6-foot-7 center Tom Kaiser inside the lane.
Meyer read it the whole way, jumped high and knocked it out of Kaiser’s hands before he could get up a shot.
“I did not expect the lob,” Meyer said. “But I was in position to make a play.”
UPS led 68-59 with 6:45 remaining, but gave up 11 consecutive points over the next four minutes.
It was a mixture of the Crusaders getting easy shots off cuts to the basket, and the Loggers’ poor ball-handling, which led to 21 turnovers.
“Our awareness … wasn’t very good.” Lunt said. “Kudos to them, I thought they played well. They did a good job of taking us out what we like to do.”
Darrius Colvin’s driving bucket gave UT-Dallas a 73-70 with 2:07 to go, but the Loggers scored the next four points in 62 seconds, capped by Timmy Saunders’ two free throws that gave them the lead for good.
At PLU 82, Whittier College (Calif.) 68: All five starters scored in double figures, led by Brandon Lester’s 14 points, and PLU (3-2) easily won the first game of its holiday tournament in Parkland.
The Lutes buried nine first-half 3-pointers — eight coming in the first 15 minutes. The final one came on Dylan Foreman’s right-corner connection with 22 seconds remaining to give the Lutes a 44-22 lead.