The men’s basketball team came out Monday night with a 69-55 win against La Sierra.
After trailing by 11 points in the first half of the game, the Leopards quickly scored nine unanswered points to make the game 21-19, making it the Leopards first official win in the season.
“We started playing better defense,” La Verne sophomore forward Tyler Hoyt said.
Hoyt led the team with 12 rebounds.
At the end of the first half of the game, La Verne was trailing 30-29, but then dominated the entire second half, outscoring La Sierra by 15 points.
The Leopards kept the La Sierra scoring down to only 25 points in the second half, while advancing their own score by 40.
In the second half, ULV scored more points by increasing their overall shooting percentage. La Verne shot 45 percent from the field in the second half, while in the first half they only shot 29 percent.
The key to winning the game, according to Hoyt, was to get the opposing team to play on their own terms.
“We didn’t want to throw quick shots, that’s their game,” La Verne junior forward Mychal Thomas said.
“We realize that we needed to start executing” said Jeremy Lay, La Verne sophomore guard.
La Verne held the biggest lead of the game moving towards the end with 15 points over La Sierra.
With the end of the game in sight, it got very physical between players, with technical fouls being called on Hoyt and Laviel Pickett of La Sierra.
Sophomore La Verne forward Trevor Woodland scored two consecutive three point shots to get the crowd into the game.
Woodland scored 12 points, and Matt Heyd scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds.
Napolitano leads the team in scoring for the season with an average of 14.3 points per game.
La Verne had won its two previous games against La Sierra last season.
La Verne has a record of 1-2 but has yet to play an opponent from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The Leopards will go on a road trip, first playing against Hawaii Pacific followed by Chaminade at the Maui Invitational in Hawaii on Friday and Saturday at 9:30 p.m.
Conference play will begin in January.
Yessenia Romo can be reached at email@example.com.