La Verne routs Caltech, 97-73

La Verne routs Caltech, 97-73

PASADENA — Hakim Arnold scored 19 points, Jordan Stokes had 16 and the La Verne men's basketball team cruised to a 97-73 victory over Caltech on Thursday night at Braun Athletic Center.

The Leopards improve to 10-4 in the SCIAC and with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps's loss on the same night, now sit just one game back of first place with two games left. Cal Lutheran and Pomona-Pitzer are also 10-4.

La Verne used 13 players off the bench and received 45 points from the unit. Brandon Rice had 10 points in 10 minutes. Evan Gustafson had eight points in seven minutes and Cruz Mertens also scored eight. Connor Head chipped in seven and Victor Costa finished with five.

The Leopards played airtight defense and took care of the ball, usually a good recipe for a win. La Verne limited Caltech to just 36.5 percent shooting and commited just six turnovers.

With 12:40 left in the first half, Arnold hit a 3-pointer, Gustafson hit a hook and Kendall McClain sank a three for a quick 8-0 run to give La Verne a 22-15 lead and the Leopards never looked back. The Leopards opened up a 14-point lead by halftime and continued to pour it on in the second, stretching the lead to as many as 30 points.

The Beavers tried to get back in the game using the long ball but made just 1 of 13 attempts from deep in the second half.

Caltech big man Nasser Al-Rayes put up a monster effort, scoring 37 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and blocking three shots. Ricky Galliani, who scored 21 points in the Beavers' win over La Verne on Jan. 21, was held to just eight points tonight.

The Leopards return to action on Saturday at Cal Lutheran for a game with big SCIAC postseason seeding implications. With a win, the Leopards will have completed a sweep of Cal Lutheran in the regular season, earning the first tiebreaker over the Kingsmen. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m.

La Verne routs Caltech, 97-73
February 16, 2017 La Verne routs Caltech, 97-73