The University of La Verne men’s basketball team earned its first win of the season with a convincing 93-64 victory over Life Pacific College Wednesday night in San Dimas.
La Verne came into the game with an 0-2 record having lost to Menlo in the season opener and getting smashed by Vanguard last week. La Verne bounced back by dominating Life Pacific with tenacious defense and controlling the defensive and offensive boards.
“We played great defense and rebounded well, but we still need to improve on our help side defense,” head coach Gabe Duran said.
All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference guard Jason Greenlee led all Leopards in scoring with 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Transfer guard Tyrone Marshall came off the bench and gave La Verne 13 points and dished out three assists.
“I came in and knocked down shots early,” Marshall said.
The Leopards where in control throughout the entire game crushing Life Pacific’s chances of a comeback in the first half. The Leopards were able to give all their players playing time in the second half, giving the freshmen an opportunity to prove themselves.
La Verne shot 57 percent from the field and made eight three pointers.
“We pushed the ball and made open shots when they were there,” senior guard Brandon Newte said.
Newte also pitched in 14 points and four rebounds.
La Verne showed a spark of greatness against Life Pacific but if they intend on competing for the SCIAC championship they will need to limit their turnovers and defend the low post more effectively.
The victory improved the Leopards’ record to 1-2 on the year.
In the Leopards first game of the season they fell short to Menlo in an 80-77 heartbreaker. Senior guard Adrian Ferrera played an instrumental role in bringing La Verne back from a 10-point deficit.
Down the stretch, the Leopards committed two crucial turnovers and were unable to make free throws that could have gave them the lead.
In the Leopards loss to Vanguard, forward Levi Seekins overpowered La Verne’s low post defense by scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Vanguard was too much for La Verne’s defense and cruised to a 73-53 win.
With the new Pavilion still under construction, the Leopards have been forced to play their home games at Claremont and had to schedule their game with Life Pacific at their gymnasium.
Hopefully the disadvantage of not having a home court will not cause La Verne to lose games they should win.
The Leopards clash with La Sierra at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in Riverside.
Darnell Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com.