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VALLEJO, Calif. – End-of-game situations will certainly be a focal point of the next several practices after the Linfield men’s basketball team dropped a pair of close games at the second annual Frank Dye Invitational, hosted by the California Maritime Academy, Friday and Saturday.
Playing in a non-regulation size gymnasium and against some unfamiliar NAIA opponents, the Wildcats (0-2) competed and witnessed a couple of stellar outings by big man Andrew Batiuk, but came up just a bit short on the scoreboard.
FRIDAY: MENLO 85, LINFIELD 85 (OT)
Coming up empty on its final three possessions when ahead or tied, Linfield let victory get away in an 87-85 overtime loss to Menlo, which picked up its first win of the season.
Batiuk led all players with a career-high 32 points on 13-of-21 shooting. Starting guards Matt Kalbfleisch and Brandon Harris added 15 and 10 points, respectively. Both were career highs.
The Oaks had four players hit double digits in the scoring column. David Abittan came off the bench to score 23 points, ChaRunn Jones had 19, Keith Bowman added 13 points and John Smith contributed 12. Bowman also had a game-high nine rebounds.
Linfield earned a three-point advantage, 41-39, at the break after shooting 51.5 percent over the first 20 minutes of action. But the 'Cats cooled off in the second half and overtime periods (41.7) while Menlo heated up (51.7). The Oaks also knocked down nine 3-pointers to Linfield’s two, and outrebounded the team from Oregon 22-20.
The Wildcats took better care of the ball, however, committing 15 turnovers compared to 21 for the Oaks.
SATURDAY: CALIFORNIA MARITIME ACADEMY 57, LINFIELD 56
CMA senior Hamilton Chang hit a shot clock buzzer-beating 17-foot jumper to give the Keelhaulers a three-point lead with less than a minute remaining, and the home team came up with a key defensive stop to capture the Frank Dye Classic.
The Cal Maritime Academy took a 28-23 advantage into the break after holding the Wildcats to 33.3 shooting in the first half. Linfield rallied, but could not complete the comeback and dropped its second straight game.
Batiuk paced the ‘Cats with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Anthomy Simi had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Keelhaulers, with teammate Jaqual Wiley adding 10 points and two steals. The Keelhaulers improved to 4-2 on the year with their third consecutive win, a streak that began with a huge victory over defending NAIA national champion and second-ranked Oregon Tech.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Batiuk’s previous career high was 30, scored against Multnomah Bible last season…fellow sophomores Kalbfleisch and Harris hit double digits for the first time in their collegiate careers.
COMING UP: The Wildcats return home to play host to Warner Pacific, also of the NAIA, Tuesday evening inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium. Game time is set for 7 p.m.