ORANGE, Calif. – Freshman Reed Smith scored a season-best 20 points but the Chapman University men's basketball team fell 70-60 to visiting Occidental on Wednesday. Smith was one of three Panther starters in double figures.
The shots just weren't falling for the Panthers (12-5, 5-3 SCIAC) as they shot just 38.6 percent on the night while Occidental (13-2, 6-0 SCIAC) shot 48.2 percent to stay undefeated in conference play.
Smith was a bright spot for the Panthers as he muscled his way inside for the first 20-point game of his career. He also grabbed six rebounds. Smith was 6-for-10 from the floor but made five trips to the line and shot 8-for-10. Seniors Luke Selway and Rob Nelsen each scored 12 points.
Smith scored the first four points of the game on a layup and a pair of free throws to give Chapman an early lead. The Tigers quickly turned it around with a 10-1 run that put them in front for the rest of the game.
The Panthers made several runs back at the Tigers but couldn't completely close the gap. After going down 12-5, they rattled off four quick points on a Selway layup and a pair of free throws from junior Jeff Kenney to make it 12-9. With just over seven minutes left in the first, sophomore Kai Weissberger made it a one-point game with a lay in. After Oxy responded, Nelsen made it 21-20 with a jumper of his own.
Oxy ran out in front again and the Panthers came back to make it a one possession game with just over one minute left but the Tigers scored the final six points of the half to go into the half with a 33-24 lead.
Within the first three minutes of the second half, Occidental built a 17-point lead at 43-28. Zach Raines capped the lengthy run with a three-pointer to prompt a Chapman timeout. The Panthers began chipping away and held Occidental scoreless over a two-and-a-half minute segment to go on a 6-0 run.
With the lead back to single digits, Occidental responded to break the drought. Chapman kept coming and cut the lead down to six with senior Tyler Green's three-pointer made it 55-49 with just under eight minutes to go. The two teams traded the next two baskets before Oxy went on a quick 5-0 run to go back up by 11. Chapman was never able to get closer than nine the rest of the way.
Austin DeWitz was an assist shy of a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to go along with three blocks and three steals. Baines led five Tigers in double digits with 19 points.
Most of the game was played down low as both teams scored over half of their points in the paint with Oxy gaining the 36-32 edge.
The Panthers are off Saturday but return to the Hutton Sports Center on Jan 24 for a 7 p.m. tip off with Pomona-Pitzer.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director