Junior guard Jake Franzen had a career high 26 points to lead the University of La Verne men’s basketball team to a dominating 102-83 victory over La Sierra Saturday in Riverside but fell to Chapman, 77-74, Wednesday at the Hutton Center in Orange.
ULV founds themselves trailing by 13 in the second half but rallied to tie the game with two minutes remaining but Chapman guard Chad Eichen’s three pointer gave a lead they would never lose.
La Verne came into the game on a high with last week’s 29-point victory over Life Pacific.
La Verne immediately attacked a soft La Sierra defense by slashing to the rim and not settling for three pointers and other outside shots.
“We just attacked the rim and refused to settle for the jump shots,” junior guard Tyrone Marshall said.
Franzen, a terrific shooter, weaved his way through the defense and took advantage of what look to be an intimidated La Sierra basketball team.
The key to Franzen’s play was his teammates’ recognition that he was on a hot streak and their continually feeding him the ball.
Franzen was also unselfish by dishing out three assists.
The stat that popped out was that Franzen did not commit any turnovers.
Normally a player who touches the ball more than 10 times is prone to turning the ball over, but Franzen secured and guarded the ball well throughout the game.
“Jake read the defense well,” senior forward Bryan Mallon said. “He took advantage of what La Sierra was giving him.”
Mallon and Marshall also added to the win with 16 points and 12 points respectively.
Chris Jackson led all Leopards with seven rebounds and added eight points.
“La Sierra was just a soft squad and we won a game we should have won,” Marshall said.
In the last two games, La Verne has defeated their opponents by more than 15 points and has found a way to make their shots.
In the first two games, the Leopards encountered problems getting the ball to the rim and lacked intensity on the defensive end.
With the emergence of Franzen and Marshall coming off the bench, La Verne should have no problems contending for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.
“We didn’t play good,” senior guard Lanier Brown said. “We just out-played them and made the easy shots.”
It’s obvious to see that the players feel that they have not reached their full potential yet and there is still more dominance ready to emerge.
Over the past four years, La Verne has always played well in the pre-season but when they start conference play, the Leopards’ play seems to crumble.
The Leopards improved to 2-2 on the year and will battle George Fox Dec. 20 in Claremont after a 13-day layoff.
Darnell Gilbert can be reached at flawlessgee@ yahoo.com.