Late in the second half of the men’s basketball game, sophomore Matt Heyd, drives to the hoop. Heyd had two assists Feb. 26 at home against the Occidental Tigers, La Verne’s last game of the season. The outcome unfortunately handed the Leopards a loss, 57-67.
Finishing the 2007-2008 campaign, the men’s basketball team lost to nationally ranked Occidental, 67-57, Tuesday night at the Frantz Athletic Court.
The Leopards finished 6-8 in SCIAC and just below the .500 mark, 12-13 overall.
“We played really hard,” Robert Hughes, a senior forward said. “But we had some scoring droughts that hurts us.”
The Leopards got off to a slow start struggling to make shots and only completing 31 percent of their shots, compared to the extravagant opening stanza the Tigers had, making 54 percent of their shots in the first half.
“Occidental is a tough team,” Kyle Luhnow, a junior forward said. “But we still played well (even if the score looks objective).”
La Verne trailed 36-26 before heading into the locker room at half time. However, returning from the intermission refreshed, the Leopards gave the Tigers a run.
ULV fought back with a 14 to three run to close within a point at 44-43, with just a little more than 12 minutes remaining in regulation.
This would be the closest margin La Verne would see for the rest of the game.
The Tigers continued to make their shots, scoring on nine of 13 on three-pointers.
Occidental’s senior forward Chris Pitcher scored back-to-back shots, which helped spread the 12-point margin. This gave the Tigers the late lead in the game, and they charged forward to claim their victory.
While La Verne’s offensive game lacked, their defense kept them in the game.
The Leopards held the rebound lead over the Tigers, 18-14 in the first half, and stayed consistent throughout the rest of the game.
“We played good defense,” Drew Terry, a senior forward said. “But they had two shooters that were making everything from the three point line; it just got out of our reach sometime.”
Despite the loss, prior to the game La Verne held their senior ceremony honoring: Juan Canas, James Daniel, Hughes and Terry.
Terry put up impressive stats for his last game with a team high of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
“This was my last game, so I wanted to put everything out on the table,” Terry said. “Now I will have no regrets when I look back.”
Canas, a forward guard, added 11 points and seven rebounds.
With this loss La Verne will not move forward to the playoffs. However, they improved their 4-10 record from last year.
“One of goals that we had this year was winning more games than last season,” Terry said. “We accomplished that so we’re happy.”
Jennifer Gilderman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.