Basketball continues push for first place

La Verne guard Anthony White brings the ball back down the court with eight minutes remaining in the first half Saturday against Chapman at Frantz Athletic Court. White scored 17 points for La Verne, leading the Leopards to a 65-60 win over the Panthers./ Photo by: Taylor Griffith
La Verne guard Anthony White brings the ball back down the court with eight minutes remaining in the first half Saturday against Chapman at Frantz Athletic Court. White scored 17 points for La Verne, leading the Leopards to a 65-60 win over the Panthers. / photo by Taylor Griffith

Chris McMahan
Staff Writer

The men’s basketball team beat the Chapman Panthers, 65-60, in an offensive struggle Saturday at Frantz Athletic Court.

The Leopards’ victory moves their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record to 7-4, tied for second with Cal Lutheran, and their overall record to 13-7.

Head coach Richard Reed said the low score was because of Chapman’s ability to take away the three-pointer.

“They made it into a game where we had to make tough twos,” Reed said. “We struggled with some of the easy layups in the first half and that contributed to the low score.”

Junior guard Anthony White led La Verne’s scoring with 17.

“We beat every team if we out-rebound them,” White said. “Offense comes easy to us because we have so many people that score on the team so we really need to lockdown on defense and today we were able to close out the game.”

The Leopards out-rebounded the Panthers 35-24 and had 14 second chance points.

Reed said it was important to pressure the Panthers at full court from the very beginning.

“I think we’re a pretty efficient defensive team because we want to play with pace,” Reed said. “We wanted to pressure them and take them out of their sets. They are a very systematic team.”

The Leopards forced 11 turnovers in the first half, but missed seven layups, resulting in a 28-24 deficit at halftime.

“We were getting good looks, we just weren’t going to the rim strong and finishing at the rim,” senior guard Kendall McClain said. “Once we kind of just settled down, started moving the ball around the floor, everybody was getting good looks. We just got some confidence and ran with it.”

Both offenses ignited in the second half.

La Verne had their largest lead of the game after a four-point play by White made the score 44-35, but the Panthers went on a 9-2 run in the next two minutes that helped trim the lead to two.

Chapman looked to rally, but effective passing by the Leopards resulting in 14 assists in the second half was the difference, and they held the lead the rest of the game.

The win positions La Verne to make the SCIAC playoffs, where the Leopards have not won a title since 1993.

Chris McMahan can be reached at christopher.mcmahan@laverne.edu.

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