Season-opening success as Chapman tops La Verne 67-49
ORANGE, Calif. – Coming off its first home playoff appearance in school history, the Chapman University men's basketball team opened the new season with a 67-49 win over La Verne at the Harold Hutton Sports Center on Tuesday night.
Chapman (1-0) jumped out to a 9-0 lead holding La Verne scoreless until junior G John Legett scored at the 15:53 mark of the first half. Over the next 10 minutes La Verne rallied to take a 21-20 lead on a bucket by junior F Austin Napolitano with 5:06 left in the half. That was the only lead the Leopards would hold all night.
Chapman then went on an 8-0 run to take a 28-21 lead sparked by four points from senior F Justin Riley. Riley, last season's Division III Independent Player of the Year, had 17 points and six rebounds to go along with three of Chapman's four blocks. The Panthers had a seven-point advantage with only seconds remaining in the first half when senior G Max Piner hit a three-point, buzzer-beater to extend the lead to 31-21 at the half. Chapman would maintain no less than a 10-point lead for the remainder of the game.
In the second half, the Panthers expanded their lead to as many as 19 points at 11:20 after a bucket by junior G Andrew Avalos. La Verne (0-1) narrowed the lead to 12 on junior C Alex Wolpe's basket with 3:22 remaining. Chapman then closed out the game from the free-throw line, finishing14-for-19 on the night. Senior G Griffin Ramme led the Panthers with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with four points while Piner added seven points.
Leggett and senior G Mychal Thomas paced the Leopards with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
by Robert Flicker
Sports Information Intern