ORANGE, Calif. – He led Humboldt State in scoring last year, and Tyras Rattler Jr. picked up where he left off in Friday’s 90-81 season-opening victory over Palm Beach Atlantic. The game was played at Santiago Canyon College and was part of the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic.
Both teams showed their early-season rust to start the game, but it was Humboldt State that found its rhythm first. The Lumberjacks used a 12-2 run to close out the first half and take a 50-40 lead into the locker room.
Rattler led all scorers with 19 first-half points and his 8-of-11 shooting was key to HSU’s impressive 61.8 shooting percentage in the first 20 minutes.
“Tyras was amazing in the first half – he came ready to play tonight,” said HSU Head Coach Steve Kinder. “He shared the ball, and we certainly rode his shoulders in the first half. He was hitting on all cylinders. Palm Beach didn’t have an answer for him. At times he showed fatigue in the second half, but it was a gritty, tough performance.”
Palm Beach Atlantic trimmed HSU’s lead to three less than 2 minutes into the second half, but it wasn’t until the 6:10 mark that a Grant Gullett dunk evened the score at 69-69. Gullett finished the game with a team-high 23 points.
Jahmere Mitchell drained a 3-pointer following the dunk to put HSU back on track. The Jacks led for the remainder of the game and a Will Taylor layup helped the North Coast squad extend its lead to 10 points with 1:46 to go.
The bench was essential to HSU’s second half success as both teams shot 50 percent from the field. Newcomer Ashton Pomrehn contributed nine points with six coming from the free-throw line, while Mitchell chipped in seven points.
“We shared the ball a little bit better in the second half,” said Kinder. “Everybody played significant minutes in the second half, and it is really powerful when everybody chips in. Ashton came in cold, we called on him late in the game and he did a great job. The game was scrappy at times and going deep on the bench definitely helped us out.”
HSU faces Saint Leo today, Saturday at 11:15 a.m. Point Loma topped the Lions, 62-53, in their season opener.