FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Lindley Kistler recorded her third consecutive career scoring high and led the University of Saint Francis to an 83-58 win over Bethel College on Saturday afternoon.
Kara Gerka added 17 points helping USF to rise to a three-way tie for fourth place in the Crossroads League. BC dropped its seventh consecutive game.
Kistler connected on 6-of-8 shots from 3-point range including a 4-for-4 in the first half when she scored 13 points.
“We did a lot of nice things today and just steadily kept increasing our lead,” USF Head Coach Jason Ridge
observed. “We shot the ball really well and Lindley Kistler is standing out right now.”
“I’m really happy to be back,” Kistler observed. “Savannah Buck knows where I am at all time and Kara finds me as well. It’s really fun to be able to contribute.”
After a tie at 2, USF lead the rest of the game after Buck broke the tie with a buck at 7:20 after a BC turnover and Buck steal. Sidney Crowe’s 3-pointer with 32 seconds left in the first quarter gave USF a 19-12 lead entering the second quarter. USF led 38-29 at halftime after taking an early 11-point lead..
USF outscored BC 26-17 in the third quarter and 19-12 in the fourth quarter.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Now we all know the name of Devon Tennant.
The University of Saint Francis 6-foot-7 sophomore connected on a short bank shot from the paint on the right side of the basket and the No. 2-ranked Cougars held off 11th-ranked Bethel College 72-70 in front of a near standing-room only crowd of more than 1,600 in the 1,850-seat Hutzell Athletic Center.
Tennant was in the game because USF’s senior ‘bigs’ — All-America Bryce Lienhoop and Stephen Turner — had fouled out in a
second half that had 32 fouls whistled against the two Crossroads League opponents. Lienhoop, who averages 17.0 points a game, fouled out with 5:10 to play. He played six minutes, 35 seconds in the second half. Turner and Lienhoop played together against the long, tall Pilots, but he too only play 6:22 in the second half and took a permanent seat with 9:19 to play — in the game.
“I’ve been in that situation before at Elmhurst College and Snider (H.S.),” Tennant observed. “I haven’t played much this year, but it was a great example of being prepared. I thank God, Bryce and Stephen because I go against them every day in practice and I’ve got to try to score with them draped on my back. Thankfully, I didn’t have anybody on my back. I’m so thankful for those seniors. Bryce and Steve pulled me aside, reminded me we’ve practiced this and just to go up up strong.
“I thought Derek (Hinen) was going to take the shot, but he was covered, so I’m thankful to God that I made the shot,” Tennant emphasized.
Tennant’s deuce restored a one-point lead for the Cougars at 71-70 with 22 seconds to play. It was just USF’s second basket since Turner scored at 9:19 giving USF a 62-54 lead. After Turner’s bucket, USF made 5-of-8 free throws prior to Tennant bucket. USF’s other basket was a Hinen two-pointer in the lane for a 69-66 USF lead with 2:27 to play.
On BC’s first possession after Tennant’s bucket, his former teammate at Snider, Trey’von Covington, missed a 3-pointer and Connor Lautzenheiser was fouled tracking down the rebound. He was the first free throw with 5.5 seconds to play. He missed the second and BC ran the ball to half court calling timeout with 2.3 seconds to play. Ryan Lutz got a 3-pointer off, but it was too strong to the delight of Cougar partisans.
The win had even more meaning for Crossroads League-leading USF since 13th-ranked Spring Arbor University knocked off No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan University 83-81. USF now leads the CL by two games heading to Marian University on Tuesday night.
“Great overall team win!” USF Head Coach Chad LaCross shouted over the jubilation on the HAC floor. “Proud of our guys to find a way to get it done without Bryce and Stephen down the stretch and Chandler (White) with four fouls. Couldn’t be happier to find a way to get the win. We did a great job of executing offensively and getting a couple big stops when we needed them most.”
Lautzenheiser scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half while Hinen added nine of his 12 in the final 20 minutes. Lienhoop led USF scoring playing just 20 minutes, 3 seconds. White played 27:56 and finished with 10 points and a team leading seven rebounds.
In a game that had two ties and 10 lead changes, USF came out fast and took its largest lead of the game at 9, 46-37, on a Lautzenheiser bucket. BC’s only lead of the second half came on Gage Ott’s bank shot at 70-69 with 34 seconds to play.
“I thought (BC) executed that last play pretty well,” Lautzenheiser said. “Fortunately our guys closed out on (Ryan Lutz) well to make him put up a tough shot. It was a big win for us, especially at home.”