Men's Basketball drops to Occidental, 74-70

Men's Basketball drops to Occidental, 74-70

LA VERNE, Calif. — Occidental used a 20-2 second half run to beat the University of La Verne men's basketball team, 74-70, on Saturday afternoon at Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.

La Verne falls to 9-12 overall and 7-6 in the SCIAC. Oxy improves to 10-12 and 5-8. With Chapman beating Redlands and Whittier defeating Caltech, La Verne falls into a third-place tie with the Bulldogs.

After a back-and-forth start to the game, the Leopards created the first separation of the game for either team, using an 11-4 run to grab a 56-47 lead.

But Jay Miller scored nine points to spark Oxy's massive run and the Tigers never looked back. Miller scored a fast break layup, hit a pull-up 3-pointer and a fade jumper—all unanswered—to give the Tigers their largest of the lead, 67-58, with 2:25 left to go in the game.

Cruz Mertens stopped the bleeding for La Verne with a 3-from the left corner and Jordan Stokes followed it up with a turnaround jumper to get the Leopards within 69-65 with 31 seconds to go. Mertens then hit another three to cut the deficit to three points with 13 seconds left but Oxy made all the free throws it needed to seal the win.

Mertens finished with a team-high 18 point while Stokes scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds. Anthony White just missed a double-double, scoring 12 rebounds and hauling in nine rebounds.

Brian Stiver had another efficient game in the post, going 4-for-4 for nine points.

Miller finished with 15 points, all of which came in the second half. Andrew Johnson had 23 points and nine rebounds and Spencer Levy had 21 points off the bench for the Tigers.

The Leopards are back in action on Wednesday at Caltech.