Two-time defending Fulmer champs settle for third place
ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University men's basketball team's bid for a third straight title at the 64th Annual Lee Fulmer Memorial Tournament was derailed in a one-point loss to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Friday night. The Panthers rebounded to defeat UC Santa Cruz 74-65 on Saturday night to capture third place at the tournament hosted by the University of Redlands. The Panthers finished 2-1 in the tournament, including a win over the University of La Verne on Thursday.
Chapman (4-3) had won each of the previous two Fulmer Tournament titles in 2009 and '10 and had won nine straight games in the tournament before falling to the Sagehens 80-79.
In the second of three meetings this season between Chapman and La Verne, the result was the same as the first with the Panthers handing the Leopards a 14-point loss to advance into the tournament's championship bracket. Chapman capitalized on 17 of 28 shooting (60.7 percent) from the field in the second half and led by as many as 25 points with 11 minutes remaining. Senior F Ben Ricard earned his first career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Panthers.
Game 2: Pomona-Pitzer 80, Chapman 79
Chapman trailed the entire game, including a double-digit deficit for much of the second half, but made it interesting until the end. The Panthers were down by nine points with 2:43 remaining before going on a 15-7 run, but it was not enough as the Sagehens made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch to hold off the charging Panthers. Chapman got three-pointers from freshman G Jordan Young, senior G Brandon Lin and freshman G Taylor Hamasaki during the final three minutes to help close the gap. Lin and Young scored 19 and 16 points, respectively, including five three-pointers apiece. In fact, the Panthers were 13 of 24 from three-point range – their highest three-point production since 2008 (18 threes vs. La Sierra). The loss snapped Chapman's nine-game winning streak in the tournament dating back to '08 and dropped the Panthers into the third place game.
Game 3: Chapman 74, UC Santa Cruz 65 (Third Place Game)
Four Panthers reached double digits in scoring, led by Lin who scored 15 and was named to the All-Tournament team. Ricard also scored 13 and added seven rebounds. Chapman trailed for much of the first half, overcoming an eight-point deficit and took the lead for good on a bucket from sophomore F Nick Dragovich with 2 minutes left in the half. Dragovich finished with 10 points off the bench. The Panthers extended their lead to as many as 16 late in the second half before winning by nine.
Chapman finished its six-game road streak 3-3 and returns home for the first time in three weeks and will face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director