Mike Kelley plays forward for Westmont College the same way that boxer Mike Tyson works an opponent on the ropes--he never stops his onslaught.
Subtlety is not a strong suit of the muscular 6-foot, 5-inch, 210-pound Kelley. Given a choice, he would rather run over a defender than go around him.
Kelley ran over a few Cal Lutheran players on Tuesday night while leading a Westmont first-half rally in which the Warriors outscored the Kingsmen, 27-10, in a span of 13 minutes, 44 seconds.
Kelley finished with a game-high 17 points to lead Westmont to a lopsided 98-55 victory.
Westmont's win dropped CLU out of a three-way tie for first place in the Golden State Athletic Conference. The Kingsmen (11-12) have lost two consecutive games after winning five in a row to drop to 6-3 in GSAC play with five games left.
With 13:44 remaining in the first half, CLU held what would be its last lead of the game at 13-12. Kelley forced a Kingsmen turnover and made the basket and the free throw after being fouled to complete the three-point play.
The Warriors then scored 16 unanswered points in a span of 7:17 to go ahead, 31-13. Westmont went ahead by as many as 22 points while holding CLU's Steve deLaveaga, the leading scorer in the NAIA District III, to eight points in the first half.
Westmont's first-half dominance paled, however, compared to the way the Warriors manhandled CLU in the second half. The Warriors outscored the hapless Kingsmen, 59-32, in the final 20 minutes in one of CLU's worst losses of the season.
For Westmont Coach Chet Kammerer, the lopsided win helped to make up for CLU's overtime victory at home against Westmont earlier this season.
"Nobody will believe the score of this game--I don't," Kammerer said. "We were highly motivated tonight because we felt like we had given away that game at CLU."
CLU Coach Larry Lopez said he was not surprised that the Warriors played tougher in the second meeting.
"When we beat Westmont it really helped us, but I knew they were going to be tough in the second round," Lopez said. "They played outstanding defense tonight and that's what won it for them."
CLU was hurt before the tipoff of Tuesday's game by the loss of senior forward James Faulk, who is academically ineligible for the remainder of the season. Faulk was the conference leader in rebounding, averaging nine a game.
But CLU needed more than a good rebounder against Westmont. The Kingsmen could have used more than deLaveaga's team-high 15 points against the swarming Warriors.
Bryan Holt also scored 17 for Westmont.
The win was Westmont's first against CLU in two seasons. The Kingsmen have won three of the past four games, but Westmont leads the series, 45-9.
CLU plays against conference-leading Azusa Pacific on Friday.