DeLaveaga, CLU Upend Westmont in Overtime, 85-79

Times Staff Writer

For most of Wednesday night's Golden State Athletic Conference opener against Westmont, Cal Lutheran forward Steve deLaveaga could not quite find the range from beyond the three-point line.

His shots either landed too short or too long, sending them ricocheting off the backboard.

But deLaveaga found the mark just in time for the Kingsmen, converting a three-point shot with eight seconds left in regulation as Cal Lutheran forged a 68-68 tie and forced an overtime period.

Once into extended play, deLaveaga responded with 10 of his game-high 37 points to lead the Kingsmen to a 85-79 victory before a raucous crowd in the CLU gym.

Playing with a cut above his left eye that he incurred early in the first half, deLaveaga scored 27 points after intermission to lead an inspired Kingsmen comeback.

"It was just a lack of concentration for me in the first half," deLaveaga said. "I haven't shot well for two nights now. I guess I'll just have to go back to basics."

DeLaveaga shot well enough for CLU to snap its two-game losing streak and upset rival Westmont (8-6, 0-1 in conference play). The Kingsmen improved to 6-9, 1-0.

Guard David Rowlands made a short jump shot with 46 seconds remaining in overtime to give CLU an 82-79 lead. Mike Miller added two free throws and deLaveaga delivered his final point on a free throw to complete the CLU scoring.

CLU trailed throughout the game and sorely missed forward Darren Ranck, who missed his fifth consecutive game because of a virus. As Ranck watched from the bench, the Kingsmen struggled back from numerous deficits against the aggressive Warriors.

Westmont took control early, partly on the strength of its free-throw shooting. The Warriors connected on 14 consecutive free throws before John Anderson missed with 1:06 remaining in the first half.

After Anderson's miss, the Kingsmen scored the final three points of the first half to narrow their deficit to 38-34.

Mike Demeter and deLaveaga made jump shots to open the second half and CLU pulled even at 38-38. But Westmont responded with six unanswered points to regain the lead.

Westmont scored the first eight points of the game before CLU bounced back quickly on two baskets by deLaveaga and another by Blake Miraglia to cut Westmont's lead to 8-6.

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