Leopards unable to snap losing streak against Sagehens

La Verne senior guard Brian Adams looks for the pass to junior guard Saafir Moore while being defended by Pomona-Pitzer sophomore guards Peyton Mullarkey and Joe Cookson at the Frantz Athletic Court on Saturday. The Leopards fell to the Sagehens, 89-72. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
La Verne senior guard Brian Adams looks for the pass to junior guard Saafir Moore while being defended by Pomona-Pitzer sophomore guards Peyton Mullarkey and Joe Cookson at the Frantz Athletic Court on Saturday. The Leopards fell to the Sagehens, 89-72. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook

Madison Hudson
Staff Writer

The La Verne men’s basketball team pushed until the last buzzer but was unable to grasp the win against the rival Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens, losing, 89-72, Saturday afternoon at Frantz Athletic Court.

The loss extends the Leopards’ losing streak to seven games.

“We gave up a lot of easy shots to them and started the game off fouling them, giving them some free throws and that carried into the second half,” sophomore guard Casey Knudson said. “We have a pattern of starting the second half, within 10 minutes we lose our composure and they go on a huge run and struggle to come back.”

Starting strong in the first quarter, sophomore center Brandin Ziegler kicked it off for the Leopards with a layup for their first basket of the game to tie the score at 2-2. Attempting to keep a steady and calm game strategy, the Leopards struggled to stay in a consistent scoring range with the Sagehens. 

Trying to find ways to score, the Leopards continued to fight for high momentum by keeping consistent touches on the ball and shooting both three pointers and solid layups to the board. 

Although the Leopards struggled defensively, sophomore guard Kyler Harvey entered the game and made important shots when the Leopards needed to put points on the scoreboard, putting up 14 points for the team.

Pomona-Pitzer did not let off the gas as they continued to pound the Leopards with baskets and rebounds. This advantage allowed the Sagehens to stay in the lead throughout the first half, leading the game, 46-38.

After halftime, the Leopards entered the gym with their heads held high and were prepared to work with an aggressive spirit in mind. 

Eager to take on an intense game, Knudson made back-to-back shots, putting up five points in 30 seconds. Knudson was able to put up two perfect three-pointers and a solid layup ending the game with seven points. 

Senior guard Brian Adams, with 14 points, and freshman guard Tyler Matthews, with seven points, also played huge roles in the Leopards’ offense, but it was not enough to clutch the win.

As the Leopards came to the last few minutes of the game, junior guard Saafir Moore continued to make shots from the top of the key as he finished the night with two three-pointers, and two valuable rebounds. 

As the Leopard subbed in players throughout the game to try and make a difference in the score, they were unable to catch up, losing this intense match, 89-72.

“One thing I think we did well this season was adapting to the injuries we faced this season,” freshman guard Tyler Brown said. “There were a few times this year where some of our key players were hurt and a lot of us took on the challenge and stepped up when the team needed it most.”

The Leopards traveled to Occidental on Wednesday night and got a much-needed overtime win against the Tigers, 95-86. Adams led the way with 30 points while Harvey had a team-high 11 rebounds.

Head coach Richard Reed also became the University’s all-time wins leader, gaining his 117th win in the history of the men’s basketball program.

The win puts the team at 7-15 overall and 4-10 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

“For the last five seniors, we want to close it to our right for those guys,” Reed said. “They have given so much to the program and have stuck it out through COVID, trying to win as many games as possible. We are still playing for something.” 

La Verne will take on the Redlands Bulldogs in a double header with the women’s team at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Gary Smith Court. The Leopards will then return home for senior night against Whittier at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Madison Hudson can be reached at madison.hudson@laverne.edu.

Madison Hudson is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Sheridan Lambrook, a senior journalism major with a concentration in visual journalism, is photography editor and a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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