LA VERNE, Calif. — Five players got into double figures in scoring for the La Verne men's basketball team and the Leopards defeated Cal Lutheran 93-81 on Thursday night at Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.
The Leopards (11-4, 5-1 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) used a 16-1 run starting about six minutes into the second half to create a cushion and held off the Kingsmen. Kendall McClain got the run started with an and-1 off a dribble drive and Cruz Mertens and Khaneal Mason each hit a 3-pointer to key the run.
La Verne made 18 of 30 field goals (60 percent) in the second half, including 5 of 10 from beyond the arc.
"We took a better advantage of what they were giving us in the second half," La Verne coach Richard Reed said. "I thought we played more to our tempo, much more dynamic on offense and defense."
Cal Lutheran (11-4, 4-2) went into the game as the best 3-point shooting team in the SCIAC, converting at an incredible 49.5 percent clip, but the Leopards did a masterful job taking away the long ball. La Verne held the Kingsmen to just 5-of-23 (21.7) shooting from downtown and Cal Lutheran's leading marksman Austin Cole made just 1 of 8 3-point attempts.
"We wanted to take away their 'comfort' threes and I thought we did a decent job," Reed said. "But we also missed their shooters four, five times in each half. So we have to do a much better job than what we did tonight."
The Leopards shared the wealth on offense. Anthony White led the Leopards with 16 points. Hakim Arnold and Jordan Stokes each had 15 points and nine rebounds. McClain finished with 14 and Evan Gustafson chipped in 10 points off the bench.
But even with the Leopards assisting 22 of their 36 made baskets on the night, Reed wasn't totally satisfied with his team's ball movement. "I thought we played selfish basketball in the first half," Reed said. "We should've had 27, 28 or 30 assists and we didn't. We have seven or eight guys that can drop 20 on any given night, but not when the ball doesn't move. We did a much better job in the second half but we're still not where we need to be. We have to get better at that."
Cal Lutheran's Wolfgang Wood led all players with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Caleb Richey had 17 points and eight assists.
The Leopards are back in action on Saturday at home against Caltech.