La Verne holds off Chapman 65-60

La Verne holds off Chapman 65-60

Photo by Shane Rodrigues

LA VERNE, Calif. — Anthony White scored 17 points, Hakim Arnold added 14 and the La Verne men's basketball team gained enough breathing room over the final five minutes to claim a 65-60 victory over Chapman on Saturday at Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.

White was 6 of 12 from the field and grabbed three rebounds. Arnold was 6-for-13 and hauled in five rebounds. The Leopards improve to 13-7 overall and 7-4 in Southern California Intercollegate Athletic Conference.

The Leopards, who've done a good job taking care of the ball all year, uncharacteristically committed 15 turnovers in the first half and found themselves trailing at halftime 28-24.

The sloppiness didn't last long. La Verne did a much better job of limiting mistakes out of the break and turned it over just five times in the second half, allowing the team to play at its preferred tempo. The Leopards also collected eight offensive rebounds in the second half, which they converted into 10 second chance points.

"The difference in the second half was we stopped doing dumb stuff," La Verne coach Richard Reed said. "A lot of our turnovers was our failing to two-foot jump stop and just throwing the ball away when they were double teaming us. But I'm proud of our guys for making that turnaround in the second half."

Evan Gustafson grabbed four offensive rebounds for La Verne and scored six of his eight points off the offensive glass. He also played solid defense on Chapman's post players.

"Evan is one of those guys that I feel like could be a starter for most teams in this league," Reed said of the sophomore. "He's an unselfish kid, he's one of the most physical players in the league and he's also very smart so I'm not surprised he had the type of game he had today."

La Verne led 52-48 with about 5:30 left in the game when Connor Head made a layup, Cruz Mertens hit a free throw and Gustafson hit a hook shot for a nine-point Leopard lead.

The Panthers (9-11, 4-7) had one final run left in them, however, as they made three unanswered baskets to pull within 59-56 with 55 seconds to go. But La Verne made six of its final eight free throws to ice the game.

Chapman's James Taylor led all players with 27 points on 10-of-11 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Rob Nelson finished with 12 points and four rebounds.

The Leopards are back in action next Thursday at home against Redlands.

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