LA VERNE, Calif. — Brandon Rice finished with a double-double and Victor Costa scored 14 points, but the University of La Verne men's basketball team couldn't hold a late first half lead, falling to the Whittier College Poets 92-66 in their SCIAC opener Wednesday night at the Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.
Rice went 4-7 from the field and was a perfect 6-6 from the line. The junior from Diamond Bar also grabbed 10 rebounds in the game for his first career double-double. Costa finished 6-13 from the field with a pair of three-pointers.
The Leopards took an early 6-0 lead and controlled the game for most of the opening half.
La Verne jumped out to their biggest lead of the game after Costa knocked down a three-pointer, stole the ball at the other end, and finished the play with a layup to put his squad up 29-18.
But the Poets began chipping away at the Leopards lead, eventually tying the game 34-34 before taking a 38-34 lead at the half.
Whittier continued their run in the opening minutes of the second half, scoring the first six points of the period and ran away with the rest of the game to hand the Leopards a loss.
Connor Head and Evan Gustafson both finished in double-figures. Head finished with 11 points with three makes from beyond the arc and led the Leopards with seven rebounds. Gustafson finished with 10 points and five rebounds.
Eric Davis led the Poets with 20 points with Victor Nwaba adding 18.
Season Impact: The Leopards fall to 0-6 overall and 0-1 in SCIAC play. The Poets improve to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
Next Game: The Leopards take a break from SCIAC action when they host the Knox College Prairie Fire next Friday at 7 p.m.