by Sara Lupu
In its first game of the second round of conference play, the University of La Verne men’s basketball team lost to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Saturday night in the Supertents, 92-80.
This was the Leopards’ second loss to the CMS Stags this season with the first taking place Jan. 14 at Claremont with a score of 86-79.
The Leopards were led Saturday by junior guard Jason Greenlee who had a game-high 34 points, averaging a point for every minute he played.
Other leading Leopard scorers were Steve Rugg and Marc McCoy with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Bryan Jolly led the Stags with 27 points while Christian Dundas recorded 17 points, shooting five-for-six from the three-point range.
The first half was a tight game with both teams trading baskets. The Leopards took a 43-41 lead at the half after sophomore guard Adrian Ferrera took advantage of a fast break play, scoring the lay-up with two seconds remaining.
The Stags gained the momentum in the second half by shooting 63 percent from the field and making 15 of 19 from the free throw line.
“The biggest difference from the first half to the second half was our lack of defensive execution and intensity,” head coach Gabe Duran said. “Claremont plays a much more reserved game than we are used to and we played down to their energy level.”
The Leopards kept the Stags within their grasp, and with three and a half minutes to play, the Leopards came within six.
The Stags closed out the game by converting key shots and handed the Leopards their sixth loss in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“The inability to score and get stops down the last stretch when it counted was a big factor in this loss,” Ferrera said. “Although we did do a better job of stopping CMS from getting too many offensive boards, which hurt us the last time we faced them, we failed to execute our offense and defense to the best of our ability.”
As the Leopards continue the second half of SCIAC play with a 2-6 record, 10-9 overall, Duran believes the team “can compete with anyone in league.”
“We just need to continue to improve on the defensive end and remain focused on the offensive end, if not we will continue to lose close ballgames,” Duran said.
ULV’s record is not very characteristic of a team of these strengths.
“Our record obviously does not reflect the talent of our team,” Rugg said. “We are a lot better than it shows, we just haven’t been putting two solid halves together and doing the little things to win games.”
With six games left in conference, the Leopards have the goal of turning the season around and winning their remaining games.
“At this point, we know what we need to do. We just have to go out and do it – execute what we practice and win games,” Rugg said. “We’ve worked too hard and we deserve to go out with a winning record.”
The Leopards’ next contest is against the University of Redlands at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in Redlands.
The last contest between the two teams resulted in a 115-108 Redlands victory.
Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.