Leopards scratch away at Tigers

Matt Griffin
Staff Writer

After shutting down University of Redlands, one of the conference’s highest scoring teams, then ending California Lutheran University’s 23 home games wining streak, the University of La Verne men’s basketball team took on Occidental College Monday evening.

With a close record between the two teams, Occidental 8-4 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and La Verne just a game behind at 7-5, the teams appear to be evenly matched.

This game, being the last home game of the year, was also the last time La Verne would be able to see the spectacular performances of four outstanding seniors.

Coaches and teammates honored guard Dane Sawyer, forward Victor Reynolds, forward Shawn Lokar and guard Marc Holmquist. All of these seniors have contributed countless hours towards the team and will be missed greatly.

Junior guard Jason Greenlee started things off with perfection, nailing three three-point shots putting La Verne up to start the game.

In the 14th minute sophomore guard Jake Franzen went under the basket to make a stunning lay up, putting La Verne up 15-13.

La Verne kept battling, giving junior forward Matt Hatch an opportunity at the foul line. Hatch sunk both shots putting La Verne up 27-19 with less than 10 minutes left in the first half.

After a constant scoring battle, Greenlee decided to take things into his own hands, soaring over the Occidental defenders and putting La Verne up 38-35. Junior guard Lanier Brown was not finished before the half was over. To beat the shot clock buzzer

Brown hit a shot setting the score at 40-39, sending Occidental to the locker room to re-determine their strategy.

Greenlee led the Leopards at half with 18 points followed by Franzen and Brown with nine each.

After halftime Holmquist gave La Verne something to remember him by with an alley-oop pass to Franzen putting the score at 42-41. Just when Occidental thought they were going to start to take over, junior guard Brandon Newte went baseline to baseline putting the Leopards within four points with less than 15 minutes left and the score at 56-60 in the second half.

With minutes of steady defense Occidental tried putting up a shot, which was quickly deflected by Reynolds.

Holmquist quickly grabbed the loose ball passing it to Greenlee who made the shot and earned the foul setting the score at 68-69 with 7 minutes to play in the second half.

With another back and forth battle of scoring between the two teams, Brown was ready to end the game knocking down a three point shot tying the game up at 74-74 with nearly three minutes in the half.

With two minutes left to play Greenlee put up another three point shot putting the score at 78-76 forcing Occidental to take a time out.

After an astounding defensive performance, Holmquist and Lokar finished the game off by sinking all of their foul shots sealing the victory over Occidental 87-81.

“I’m happy to leave on a win,” Reynolds said. “I was a little fatigued. This was a team victory and it felt good.”

The Leopards look forward to finishing their season strong and keeping their momentum.

“This was a quality win,” Greenlee said.

“Pomona is going to be a tough team at home, but we will be ready. This was the best team effort win I have experienced in the three years that I have been here,” he said.

“Pomona is next,” Head Coach Gabe Duran said.

“We are facing the hardest teams towards the end of our season. I am pleased with the team’s chemistry and the way we are rallying back,” Duran said.

La Verne will travel to Pomona-Pitzer Thursday and take on the Saghens at 7:30 p.m. to battle for a top three spot in SCIAC.

Matt Griffin can be reached at mgriffin@ulv.edu.

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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