Men's Basketball topples CMS in SCIAC opener

CLAREMONT, Calif. — Hakim Arnold had a double-double, Anthony White scored 15 points and the University of La Verne men's basketball team beat the defending SCIAC champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 63-58, in the conference opener on Saturday evening at Rains Center.

White hit a couple of clutch jumpers down the stretch and La Verne overcame a 13-point first half deficit to come away with the victory.

The Leopards claimed their biggest lead of the game when Connor Head made a layup to give them a 57-52 advantage with 6:35 to go but the Stags came up with five straight defensive stops to get within 57-56.

White stopped La Verne's cold streak with a jumper with just less than two minutes to go and hit another one in the free throw circle on the next offensive possession to give the Leopards a 61-58 lead with 1:05 remaining.

La Verne forced the Stags to to 0-for-3 the rest of the way to seal the win.

With the win, the Leopards improve to 3-6 overall and 1-0 in SCIAC play. CMS falls to 6-4 and 0-1.

The game threatened to get away from the Leopards when the Stags went on a 14-2 run late in the first half to grab a 33-20 lead. But La Verne closed the half with a Cruz Mertens a 3-pointer, a Tony Warwick layup and a Jordan Stokes basket to trim the deficit to 33-27 going into the break.

The Stags briefly took a 38-30 lead early in the second half but the Leopards went on a 12-2 streak get back in the game. Arnold pitched in four points, White added a three and Kendall McClain punctuated the run with a three of his own.

Arnold finished with 18 points -- 12 of which came in the second half -- and grabbed 11 rebounds. Mertens finished with eight points and five rebounds.

Evan Davis sparked CMS' first half surge with three straight from downtown and finished the night 5-of-5 from beyond the arc and a team-high 15 points.

The Leopards are back in action on Wednesday at Whittier.