ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University men's basketball team rolled past La Verne 72-57 this afternoon to earn a spot in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. In the final home game of his career, senior Rob Nelsen led the Panthers with a career-high 24 points.
On top of his 24 points, Nelsen also tallied six boards and three assists. The senior shot 4-for-5 from downtown and was perfect from the line with four free throws.
Collectively, the Panthers shot 48.1 percent from field goal range and 55.6 percent from beyond the arc. Chapman outrebounded the Leopards 41-26 and capitalized on their opportunities with 15 points off turnovers.
The first two and a half minutes of the game were scoreless until senior Tyler Green put up a layup to start the scoring. La Verne junior Cole Currie drained a three to give the Leopards a short-lived lead. On the next play, Nelsen converted a three-point play to tie the game after five minutes of play. After exchanging the lead five times, Currie extended La Verne's lead to four points with a layup. Junior Josh Mendoza answered with a three, followed by a layup from senior Luke Selway to give the Panthers their fourth lead of the game.
Currie tied it up again, but Nelsen hit a three to give Chapman its final lead with just over five and a half minutes left to play in the first quarter. It was all Panther action from there, as junior Jeff Kenney slammed down a dunk to seal a five-point lead. Nelsen made another three, followed by a layup from freshman Reed Smith to make the score 33-27 heading into the second half.
The Panthers went on a 15-2 run to start the second half, increasing their lead to 19 points. After exchanging points, Mendoza hit his second three of the game. Nelsen followed with a layup on the next play to give Chapman its largest lead of the game at 23 points. The Leopards answered with back-to-back threes and a layup to cut the lead to 15 points with six and a half minutes left to play in the game. Nelsen hit his final three of the game with just under two minutes left to play, capping off his career-high senior night. Green dribbled out the clock to secure the win and a spot in the SCIAC postseason tournament for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
Selway nearly had his fourth double-double of the season, putting up nine points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Green tallied double-digit points for the third consecutive game, scoring 11 while also recording a steal. Junior Corwin Feerick also had a career-high night, grabbing seven boards with two assists and a block.
Chapman heads out on the road for its final two games of the regular season before competing in the semifinal of the SCIAC postseason tournament.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant