Men’s Basketball stages late rally, falls to Transylvania

Men’s Basketball stages late rally, falls to Transylvania

LA VERNE, Calif. — Despite erasing an 11-point deficit down the stretch, the University of La Verne men's basketball team fell short against Transylvania, 62-59, at Frantz Court on Thursday afternoon.

Transylvania took the largest lead of the night, 56-45, on a Dillon Pulliam free throw with 5:19 to go before La Verne orchestrated 14-3 run to bring itself within one point with 15 seconds remaining. Hakim Arnold led the charge with 7 points during the stretch and capped off the run with a strong move to the basket.

The Leopards then fouled on the ensuing possession and Tommy Sirkin hit both of his free throws give the Pioneers at 62-59 lead. Needing a three-pointer to extend the game, the Leopards could not get into the set it wanted and settled for a contested Arnold three-pointer that missed long.

Arnold, who has arguably been the best player for the Leopards in the early going, once again led La Verne in scoring with 17 points on an efficient 8-of-14 shooting. He also handed out three assists and grabbed two rebounds.

The Leopards fell behind early for the second game in a row. The Pioneers got out to a 20-11 lead, but Arnold sparked a La Verne run with a layup and the Leopards hit three long balls in the last four minutes of the first half to go into the break trailing, 29-26.

The teams traded baskets out of the halftime break until Transylvania grabbed control with a 12-3 run aided by five points from Alex Jones.

After playing tough defense without fouling in the first half, the Leopards got sloppy in the second. The Leopards committed seven fouls in the second half before one was called on Transylvania and the Pioneers hit 14 of 18 free throws in the second half. They just had two attempts in the first half, missing both.

La Verne had a hard time drawing fouls on the other end and attempted just six free throws in the game.

Josiah Sukumaran had a near double-double with eight points and nine rebounds for La Verne.

Weston Newell saw the court well and found teammates time and time again for seven assists.

Niall Harrison and Cruz Mertens each added nine points.

Alex Jones, Jake Williams and Parker Stansberry each hit double figures for Transylvania.

La Verne will enjoy a big bit of a break before traveling to Orange for the annual Chapman Classic at the end of the month. The Leopards will take on St. Joseph's on Dec. 29 and will face Oberlin on Dec. 30.

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