A strong first half was not enough to finish off the Chapman Panthers as the men’s basketball team fell, 85-74.
La Verne looked to avenge a loss that came earlier in the season when they faced Chapman on Nov. 16.
With great defense and high energy, the Leopards were able to take an early 14-5 lead over the Panthers. Chapman was able to battle their way back in the game and finish the half tied up at 32.
“In the first half we battled very well with them,” junior center Alex Wolpe said.
Coming out of the half, the ball really went Chapman’s way.
The Panthers were able to capitalize off of La Verne’s turnovers and turn them into points, which led to a 9-2 run and a 41-34 lead.
This would be the turning point for the Panthers as they were able to keep the lead for the remainder of the game.
“We could have gotten a few more stops, and we needed to not turn the ball over three times at the start of the second half because that led to six points,” third year head coach Richard Reed said.
Chapman was able to keep their lead in the second half by shooting 100 percent from beyond the arc, sinking 60 percent of their overall shots and making 22 of 27 free throws.
“We aren’t changing anything,” Reed said. “We’re coming off of a three game winning streak and we just played one of the top 25 teams.”
The Panthers looked to be in total control of the game late in the second half as they held a 71-58 lead with 3:26 left in the game.
Chapman was able to finish off the Leopards in the final minutes of the game and finish with an 85-74 victory.
“We just need to have patience. We get very jittery when they score,” Wolpe said. “We have taken huge strides since the start of the season and once we can control ourselves we will be dominating.”
Justin Riley compiled a game high 28 points and six rebounds for the Panthers.
Brandon Lin was able to contribute 17 points and Max Piner added 15 points to the score.
“The team really played with a lot of intensity in the second half but just couldn’t finish,” junior criminology major Trayvon Samuel said.
“We will definitely see them down the road in the tournament,” Wolpa said.
The Leopards were led by Trevor Woodland, who was able to rack up 26 points.
Junior forward Austin Napolitano was able to add 18 points.
Wolpe put up nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
On Dec. 3 the Leopards beat Pacifica, 102-83.
The Leopards were led in scoring by junior forward Tyler Hoyt with 18 points.
Napolitano led the team in rebounds with 11.
La Verne came out with a big first half, outscoring Pacifica by 23 points and shooting 44 percent from the field.
Pacifica let a slow shooting night get the better of them.
With two minutes left in the game Pacifica player Jacob Latham received two consecutive technical fouls and was ejected from the game.
The Leopards held on to win the game despite being having a slow second half.
The Leopards have a 3-2 record, but they have yet to begin conference play.
La Verne looks to bounce back from their loss against the Panthers as they wrap up a three game home streak against West Coast Baptist at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
They will then head on the road to play San Diego at 7 p.m. on Monday.
Justin Davis-Battle can be reached at email@example.com.