LA VERNE, CA — Four Leopards finished in double figures and the University of La Verne men's basketball team gave the undefeated Occidental College Tigers a big scare Wednesday night in their SCIAC opener.
But the Leopards missed the go-ahead three-pointer with 39 seconds to play and the Tigers made a pair of free throws to seal a 77-73 win over La Verne.
Freshman Sinai Enoch had a huge game for the Leopards, scoring a team-high 15 points in 19 minutes off the bench.
Coming out of the break down 43-31, Luke Edwards got the Leopards going quick draining a three-pointer from the corner on the Leopards' first possession of the period to make it a nine-point game.
La Verne finished the game with seven three-pointers most of them coming in clutch situations. With 7:02 left of the clock, Michael Curley made good on his only attempt of the game, knocking down a three with Baines in his face to tie the game 62-62.
A few possessions later after the Tigers retook the lead, the Leopards showed off unselfish basketball, sending the ball around the horn twice until it got to an open Alec Vucinich who drained the long ball with three seconds on the shot clock to tie the game at 69-69.
Vucinich provided the highlight of the game on La Verne's next trip down the court. The senior guard leapt, grabbed the rebound and slammed the ball through the hoop to finish the play and tie the game 71-71. Vucinich finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
La Verne would tie the game once more with 1:18 left to play off a Jordan Allen layup but could get no closer. Allen finished with 13 points, three assists, and two rebounds.
The Leopards attacked the basket hard during the opening 15 minutes. La Verne converted tough, contested layups at the hoops and found big men Evan Gustafson and Jarid Taylor inside the paint often to keep pace with a tough Tiger squad early. Gustafson finished with 11 points, six rebounds, and five rebounds.
After staying close with the Tigers for most of the opening half, Occidental's Zack Baines gave the Leopards trouble late in the half, scoring 11 points in the final three minutes to help give the Tigers a 43-31 halftime lead. Baines led Occidental with 27 points.
La Verne moves to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in SCIAC play. The Tigers improve to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
The Leopards will next head to Spokane, WA when they will play No. 11 Whitworth this Saturday at 1 p.m. The Pirates head into the matchup with a 5-1 record.Watch Live Follow ULV Athletics on Twitter Like us on Facebook Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram