THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Cruz Mertens scored 13 points and Hakim Arnold had 11, but the University of La Verne men's basketball team could not overcome a big first-half deficit in a 66-50 loss to Cal Lutheran on Saturday afternoon at Gilbert Arena.
La Verne drops to 4-6 overall and 0-1 in SCIAC. Cal Lutheran improves to 7-2 and 1-0.
The Kingsmen shot a scorching 60 percent from the field in the first half as they staked out a 16-point lead at halftime. Coltrane Powdrill put up 14 of his game-high 22 points in the first half and Arik Smith scored all 17 of his points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting.
Cal Lutheran created the first separation of the game with an 8-0 run early in the game and closed out the first half by sinking their last four shots.
La Verne did not go away quietly, however. Josiah Sukumaran hit a midrange jumper on the first possession of the second half and the Leopards used a pair of three-pointers and a couple of free throws by Mertens to start the half on a 18-6 run to make it a game at 44-40.
But Martin Flowers of Cal Lutheran hit two quick layups to hold off the Leopards and made two more layups within the next few minutes to help the Kingsmen create an 11-point cushion that they would never relinquish.
La Verne beat Cal Lutheran on the glass, 39-28, but the Kingsmen were able to offset the disadvantage by taking care of the ball and working the paint. The Kingsmen outscored the Leopards, 36-13, in the paint and committed just nine turnovers on the night.
Arnold hauled in eight rebounds to go along with his 11 points and Sukumaran had a bounce-back game on the boards with nine rebounds after an off-game against Division I CSU Bakersfield.
Khaneal Mason gave out a game-high six helpers.
Smith led the way for Cal Lutheran on both ends of the court with 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and four steals.Follow La Verne Athletics on Twitter @ULV_Athletics Follow La Verne Athletics on Instagram @ULV_Athletics
Like La Verne Athletics on Facebook Sign up for our newsletter