Matt Heyd (No. 10), point guard for La Verne, looks for an open teammate to pass to in the first half of Saturday’s game game against La Sierra. Golden Eagle defenders Andrew Grooms (No. 11) and Nicholas Wong (No. 55) try to block Heyd. La Verne defeated La Sierra, 91-67.
The Leopards men's basketball team worked up an excited crowd in Saturday's game in the Frantz Athletic Court, as it outplayed La Sierra to earn their biggest win of the season.
La Verne won with a 24-point lead, 91-67, in the Dec. 6 game.
There were 14 different players who scored for the Leopards, and seven players who added at least six points.
This game was a rematch of Nov. 19, which La Verne won over La Sierra 91-76.
La Verne also played against Azusa Pacific on Nov. 25 and lost, 79-70.
La Sierra was the first to score after the tip-off, but 15 minutes into the game, La Verne was already dominating La Sierra with its strong, threatening defense and consistent offense.
Right before the first-half ended, the Leopards held a 12-point lead with the score being 42-30.
In the second half, both teams scored more points than they did in the first half.
The Leopards shot 55.6 percent from the field in the first half, and they widened their percentage to 64.3 in the second half.
"I thought we came out with great effort and intensity in the second half," said Richard Reed, men's basketball head coach.
"We improved on some areas that we have been working on the last couple of weeks," he added.
Although the Leopards were strong, playing a good game in the first half, and would eventually win with ease, the game remained pretty even. There was some back and forth.
La Verne’s Tyler Hoyt directed a balanced and aggressive attack with 14 points.
La Verne’s junior guard Billy Nicolini and senior forward Kyle Luhnow both played aggressively on the court. Nicolini and Luhnow both contributed 12 points.
Senior guard Danny Vasquez and junior guard Matt Heyd both added nine points to the scoreboard.
However, there were other Leopards who did their part.
Junior forward Brian Schumm contributed eight points for the Leopards, sophomore guard Randy Cardona added seven points, and freshman guard Jonathan Bastos added six points.
Vasquez finished three-of-four from the three-point range, and Luhnow led the team with eight rebounds.
"It was nice to be home and play in front of our friends and family," Reed said.
Reed also explained how he is excited to see how well the team can do in future games with more practice on the court.
Some of the La Verne team players had something to say about how their team played on the court.
“I think we played pretty well; there were still things to work on, but we were still scoring pretty easily,” Luhnow said.
“I feel it was our best game of the year so far,” Nicolini said.
They also added some input about their opponents, the La Sierra Golden Eagles.
“They’re a decent team; things just did not work out for them that night,” Luhnow said.
“We broke them down pretty easily,” Vasquez said.
The Leopards (2-4) host Johnson and Wales University (5-7) tonight at 7 p.m., at Frantz Court.
Natalie Veissalov can be reached at email@example.com.