A valiant effort was not enough as the men’s basketball team suffered a tough road loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 76-68, Saturday at Ducey Gymnasium.
Down by 15, the Leopards rallied to get within six points, but the deficit proved to be too large.
La Verne head coach Richard Reed looked back on the game and emphasized offensive execution as a reason for falling short of victory.
“We had opportunities,” Reed said. “A couple of shots just didn’t go our way.”
The Leopards took an 11-3 lead in the early stages of the game, not allowing a field goal until the 15:37 mark of the first half.
“We played with a high level of energy, flow and people were executing the offense coach wanted from us,” senior center Alex Wolpe said. “We weren’t getting frustrated.”
CMS answered and took a 19-18 lead with just under seven minutes left.
The Stags led by eight points in the half, until a three-pointer by freshman guard Theo DeBerry and a two-point jumper by senior guard Jake Vieth cut the score to three, 34-31, heading into halftime.
During Reed’s halftime message he stressed one point to his team.
“We just talked about taking it one thing at a time,” Reed said.
Despite the Leopards ending the first half on a solid note, a quick 10-4 run gave the Stags a 44-35 edge in the beginning of the second half.
Vieth nailed a three pointer followed by a short two-point jumper to get his team within four points, 44-40.
The Leopards would then cut the lead to three points, 45-42.
A pair of three pointers and free throws by CMS senior guard Cody Mivshek capped a 12-5 Stags’ run giving them a 57-47 lead with just over eight minutes remaining.
Mivshek was the game’s leading scorer with 23 points making 10 of his 13 free throw attempts.
The Leopards would respond when a Wolpe layup and a Vieth free throw reduced the CMS lead to six points with just 48.1 seconds left in the game.
However, time ran out on the Leopards as they have now fallen to 6-7 in SCIAC play and 8-14 on the season. With the loss, the Leopards are currently in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference with Chapman and Cal Lutheran
Vieth led the Leopards with 22 points shooting 4-5 from three-point range and 8-12 from the field overall.
Wolpe added 11 points and eight rebounds to the Leopards’ effort as well.
For the game, CMS shot 46 percent compared to 41.1 percent for the La Verne.
Both teams shot 50 percent in the second half. CMS won the rebound margin, 37-31.
After the game, Vieth focused on where the Leopards need to improve in order to be successful.
“We just have to take care of us,” Vieth said. “We just have to worry about only us and box out, rebound and make open shots.”
Reed took the game as a learning experience for his team and is ready for the next game.
“We got better tonight, so it is on to the next one,” Reed said.
The Leopards’ next game is senior night against Cal Lutheran at 7 p.m. Saturday at Frantz Athletic Court.
Julian Mininsohn can be reached at email@example.com.