LA VERNE, Calif. – A stiff defensive effort and a few key shots in the second half led to the Puget Sound men's basketball team's 56-53 win over La Verne on Tuesday afternoon. The win completed a clean sweep of the Loggers (5-5) three-game swing through southern California.
Three different starters put up double digits in scoring for the Loggers. Derek Jobe led the Loggers with 14 points while Rex Holmes added 13 points and Riggs Yarbro pitched in 10 more. Ryan Rogers, another starter, had nine points in the Loggers winning effort.
The long trip looked to be hanging heavy on the Loggers early on as the Leopards (1-7) jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead. Their lead reached as much as nine points with 15:20 left in the first when Alex Wolpe's free throw made the margin 14-5.
However, the Loggers immediately struck back as Yarbro successfully converted a three-point play just over one minute later to cap an 8-0 run. The Leopards held off the Loggers momentarily but Jobe's three pointer with 8:05 left tied up the game at 20-20 and Roger's three just 30 seconds later gave the Loggers their first lead 23-22.
The lead changed hands seven times late in the first half but the Loggers ended the half on a 5-0 run to take a 36-32 lead into the half.
After the comeback in the opening 20 minutes, the Loggers never trailed. Both teams struggled to find their shooting rhythms as percentages dropped in the final period. The Leopards were held to just 24.1 percent shooting in the second half and failed to drain a three-point shot in eight tries. The Loggers were just a bit better at 36.3 percent shooting in the half.
The Loggers held off the Leopards in the second half as both teams traded small runs. The lead grew to as many as nine points when Holmes' layup with 5:24 to go made the score 52-43. After a Rogers at the 3:38 mark, the Loggers again led by nine.
The Leopards refused to go as Jake Vieth and Wolpe knocked down four consecutive free throws to narrow the gap to five points. The Loggers scored just once more on a jumper from Holmes but were able to thwart the Leopard comeback attempt to hold on for the win.
Vieth had a game-leading 20 points as the only Leopard in double digits.
The Loggers will enjoy a short holiday break before returning to the court at Portland Bible on Dec. 29 at 3 p.m.