Story by Sebastián Abdón Ibarra, Sports Information Student Assistant
LA VERNE, CA — The Leopards team battled and Alex Blanco got off a three-point attempt in the final seconds to try to tie the game. But the shot fell just off the mark and the University of La Verne men's basketball team dropped a heartbreaker to the Life Pacific University Warriors on Friday night 74-71.
John Malone II drained a three-point shot to cut the Warriors' lead to 72-71 with 0:35 left in the game. The Warriors made both their free throws on their next possession to increase their lead to three again, but it left the Leos with one last chance to tie the game with 0:14 left in the game setting up Blanco's final heave.
Paul Antonis continued his strong start to the campaign with 28 points on 8-12 shooting, including 3-4 from three-point land. He also had six rebounds, three assists, and was perfect on all nine of his free throw attempts. Through two games, Antonis is shooting an outstanding 57 percent from three. Malone bounced back in a big way from La Verne's opener. He had 20 points on 7-11 shooting and shot 67 percent from three. Malone also had four rebounds, five assists, a steal, and played the most minutes on the team with 37.
In the early moments of the second half, the Leopards found themselves down seven after battling back from an early deficit in the first half. They continued to chip away at the Warrior lead and tied the game 57-57 with threes on back-to-back possessions. Brad Yasukochi set up Antonis' three-pointer with a great assist to get La Verne even for the first time since early in the first half.
Almost a minute later with 11:20 remaining in the game, Antonis gave La Verne their first lead of the game with two free throws. From there, it was a back and forth game and the Leos found themselves trailing 70-65 with 1:40 left in the game. La Verne made the game down to the wire with two huge threes from Kyler Harvey and Malone to give the Leos a shot to win or tie the game with 35 seconds left.
La Verne's next game is on Tuesday when they travel to UC Irvine to take on the NCAA Division I Anteaters at 7:00 p.m.Watch Live
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