ORANGE, Calif. – A double digit deficit was cut to just five points but Whitworth pulled away late as the Chapman University men's basketball team fell 78-69 to the eighth-ranked Pirates. Junior James Taylor led the Panthers (4-5) with 21 points and six rebounds.
With just under eight minutes to go, the Panthers were in a 16-point hole at 64-48. A quick 7-1 run made it a 10-point game with 5:20 left to play fueled by three-pointers from Reed Nakakihara and James Griffin. Another three from Tyler Green was followed by a pair of buckets from Taylor and another one from Griffin to make it 69-64.
However, Ben Bishop converted a three-point play to push the lead back to eight for the Pirates on their next trip down the floor. His free throw was part of a 7-for-8 stretch from the free throw line down the stretch to help Whitworth pull away.
Taylor has 15 of his 21 points in the second half before fouling out. Chapman built an eight-point lead early on after a 16-2 run over a six and a half minute span. However, the Pirates made a methodical comeback and used a 12-0 run at the end of the half to turn a three-point Panther lead into a nine-point halftime deficit.
Green had 15 points and a steal while Griffin scored nine points and grabbed seven boards. Nakakihara scored 10 points for the Panthers while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists. Whitworth's Kyle Roach led all players with 22 points – 16 of which came in the first half.
Chapman will return to the Hutton Center floor on Dec. 30 to take on Husson in the late game of a doubleheader. The women's game with SUNY Oneonta tips at 3 p.m. and the men's game against Husson tips at 5 p.m.
by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director