PASADENA, Calif. – A second half surge proved to be the difference in La Verne's 75-66 win over Caltech on Wednesday evening in a SCIAC men's basketball match-up.
The all-conference duo of Austin Napolitano and Trevor Woodland were the major scoring factors for the visitors as they recorded 29 and 21 points respectively. They were the only players in double figures for the Leopards. Woodland also contributed a team high 11 rebounds.
The first 20 minutes were tightly contested with six lead changes and four ties as neither team held an advantage larger than five points. The Leopards jumped out quickly to a 7-2 lead less than four minutes after tip-off. The Caltech (5-12, 0-6 SCIAC) offense methodically chipped away and took their first lead of the game at 17-15 after an Ethan Boroson three-pointer with 10:27 left until halftime.
La Verne (5-12, 2-4 SCIAC) pushed back right away with an 11-4 scoring spree to grab back their five point advantage with 6:10 left. Caltech responded with a run of their own to retake the lead at 31-29 over the next four-plus minutes. The final bucket of the frame came when Josiah Sukumaran tied the game with a lay-up at 34-34 with three seconds left before the teams headed for the locker room.
Both teams played a nip-and-tuck start to the final half before La Verne surged ahead. Caltech held a 45-43 lead with 14:47 left in the contest when the Leopards pushed ahead with a 16-2 scoring spree over the next five minutes. The visitors continued to hold that lead and never let their lead drop below eight points until the closing minutes.
A Michael Edwards three-pointer with 4:41 remaining brought Caltech within 65-58 but four consecutive La Verne points nudged their lead back to double figures. One final push got the Beavers deficit down to six points at 69-63 with 1:25 left but the home squad couldn't pull any closer as La Verne got the victory.
La Verne shot the ball at an efficient clip all night as they nailed 31 of their 51 (60.8 percent) field goal attempts en route to victory.
As a team Caltech made a season high 11 three-pointers.