Lutz’s 40 Points Not Enough To Rout Knights

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Junior guard Griffin Lutz carried the Athens Bulldogs through all four quarters on both ends of the floor, but the Fairfield Christian Knights routed the Bulldogs 80-73. Along with his standout scoring ability, he tallied 12 rebounds, three assists and six steals. Even with all the numbers, Lutz would happily trade the stats for a victory.

“It’s all right,” Lutz said. “We should have gotten the win. Our defense was lacking a little bit, but I think we will pick it up next game.”

Lutz put up 12 of the Green and Gold’s 16 first quarter points, but the Knights seized control of the quarter right from the tip with a 13-4 run. Though the Bulldogs were able to chip away at the lead throughout the game, Fairfield Christian had the advantage until the final buzzer.

Burying a half-court heave to end the third quarter, Lutz led Athens back to within three, and with 6:30 left in the fourth, the game was knotted up at 55. In the end, the supporting cast for the Bulldogs was not able find the bottom of the net when they needed to. While Lutz converted on 14 of his 27 field goal attempts, the rest of the team shot just 7-24 from the field. The Knights pulled away with another 14-2 run in the final frame, helping them escape with the victory.

“We have to get Griffin some help offensively,” Athens head coach Jeff Skinner said. “We need to find a way to get three different guys in double figures. We also have to get a lot tougher defensively. Fairfield Christian beat us over and over with screens. We just need to be better.”

While Skinner and his bunch were able to put points on the scoreboard, they struggled on the defensive end. In large part due to the their quick ball movement and solid screens, the Knights were able to find a lot of high-percentage looks. Fairfield Christian forward Isaac Naayer was on the end of many of those plays, battling Lutz with 35 points of his own. Skinner adjusted to a zone defense in the second half, but the Knights were ready for it. They continued to put up points, shooting 53 percent (30-56) on the night.

“We work really hard on our man-to-man defense,” Skinner said. “But sometimes we like to go to our matchup zone. We had to switch to it tonight earlier than I wanted.”

In the loss, Skinner picked out many of his team’s positives, explaining that we will see a lot of more of Lutz as the season progresses. He also liked that his team knocked down 17 of its 22 free throws, but ultimately, Skinner admitted that they must improve defensively.

The Bulldogs have a full week of practice before they take the floor against Vinton County, which will kick off TVC-Ohio play.