REDLANDS, Calif. — Hakim Arnold and Cruz Mertens each scored 17 points for the University of La Verne men's basketball team but the Leopards struggled to contain Redlands' top players in a 76-72 loss at Currier Gymnasium on Saturday.
Mertens did the bulk of his damage in the first half, in which he went 4-of-6 from downtown to give the Leopards a 37-34 lead at halftime.
La Verne stretched the lead to 47-39 about five minutes into the second half as Mertens opened the half with another three and Arnold sank a couple of jumpers. But Sean Milligan and Al Bjekovic combined to score 10 unanswered points for Redlands and it was a back-and-forth battle the rest of the way.
The Leopards had a chance to tie the game late when Kyle Husslein missed the back end of his double-bonus that would've given the Redlands a two-possession lead but La Verne gave up the rebound to the Bulldogs and had to foul again.
La Verne falls to 5-8 overall and 3-2 in SCIAC play. Redlands improves to 6-8 and 2-3.
Arnold was just shy of a double-double, hauling in a team-high nine rebounds. He also gave out four assists and swiped three steals.
Sean Milligan scored a game-high 23 points for Redlands and Bjekovic notched a double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Husslein added 20 points and Kyle Milligan collected a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Leopards are back in action on Wednesday at home against Pomona-Pitzer.