Fast start is the difference as Panthers hang on against Cal Lu
ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University men's basketball team got a fast start out of the gate and then withstood a late charge by the Kingsmen, holding on to defeat visiting Cal Lutheran University 58-54 at the Hutton Center on Saturday night. With the win, the Panthers climb back above .500 – alternating wins and losses over the past six games.
Chapman (5-4) was red hot from the opening tip, building a 16-point lead in the first 11 minutes and shooting over 84 percent (11 of 13) from the field during that stretch. A three-pointer from senior PG Andrew Avalos at 10:04 in the first half, followed by a bucket from senior F Ben Ricard a minute later gave the Panthers a 26-10 advantage – a lead they would not surrender.
However, Cal Lutheran (3-3) chipped away and went into halftime trailing by 33-23. In a sign of things to come, Chapman made just two field goals and shot 16.6 percent over the final 9 minutes of the first half.
The Panthers kept the Kingsmen at arms distance for most of the second half with an average lead between eight and 10 points, but Cal Lutheran cut the lead to five for the first time with 3:18 remaining on a basket by Michael Palmer. Then, with 38 seconds left in the game, Jayvaughn Nettles buried a three to cut the Panthers' lead to two at 54-52.
Still leading by two with 9 seconds left, Chapman senior G Brandon Lin missed a pair of free throws, but a hustling Ricard dove for the loose ball rebound in the corner and the Panthers maintained possession. Five seconds later Lin sealed the game, this time by hitting both free throws to give Chapman the four-point victory.
Chapman shot just 19 percent (5 of 26) from the field and was out-rebounded by 11 in the second half. Meanwhile, the Kingsmen shot 54.5 percent (12 of 22) from the floor in the final period. Cal Lutheran was just 6 of 15 from the free throw line in the game.
Lin led all scorers with a career-high 20 points including a pair of three-pointers and was 8 of 11 from the charity stripe. Ricard added 14 points and three assists and Avalos also scored 10.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director