LA VERNE, Calif. — Hakim Arnold had a career-high 29 points, going 14 of 22 from the field, and grabbed 16 rebounds — another career-high — to help the La Verne men's basketball team beat Wisconsin Lutheran 84-72 on Sunday afternoon at Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.
La Verne (2-0) trailed by five at intermission, but used a 12-4 run just past the halfway mark of the second half to go up 69-59. The lead reached 16 on a jumper by Arnold with 2:45 left and the Leopards held on.
The Leopards shot just 25 percent from the field, including 2 of 19 from the three, in the first half but roared back in the second half to convert at a 62.5 percent clip and outscored the Warriors by 17.
"We got some really good looks in the first half but I think we played with some jitters to start the game," La Verne coach Richard Reed said. "They were giving us the driving lanes in the first half but we didn't take advantage. In the second half, we wanted to drive the ball to the basket and you saw the difference at the foul line. ... That's what they gave us tonight and that's what we took advantage of."
La Verne consistently found easy looks at the basket in the second half and as the defense collapsed to take away inside looks, found open shooters who made 5 of 9 three pointers. "The quicker we can settle down and understand what the defense are giving us and take advantage of it, the harder we will be to beat," Reed said.
Arnold got to the rim almost at will and mixed in his midrange game to great effect. Through La Verne's first two games, the senior is averaging 25.5 points on 60.5 percent shooting and 12.5 rebounds per game.
"Hakim has a chance to have a special season," Reed said of the All-SCIAC guard. "As he goes, our team goes. He is recognizing what the defenses are giving him. Last game, he had seven assists and no turnovers. Today, it was his turn going to the basket.
"He's a two-way player. There aren't many of them and he's one. For him to get 16 rebounds is amazing and he can get so much better."
Jordan Stokes was on the receiving end of a lot of La Verne's dribble drives in the second half and finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Anthony White had 12 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Collin Kennedy scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Warriors. Tanner Schieve finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
The Leopards are back in action on Friday against Wisconsin-River Falls, the first of a two-game slate at Lee Fulmer Classic, hosted by Redlands from Dec. 2-3.