Following a first-half deficit, the men’s basketball team won its season opener at home against La Sierra University Nov. 16. One of the highlights of the 82-67 win was a 22-point performance by junior point guard Reed Nakakihara, who had 19 points and five three-pointers in the second half.
“The first half was pretty bad and then at halftime we made an emphasis that we had to be a lot better on the (defensive) end and play a little harder,” Nakakihara said. “That’s going to be a bigger emphasis for us this year. Every night we need to do better defensively.”
Chapman outscored La Sierra 52-34 in the second half. An efficient 18-of-21 second-half free throws compared to La Sierra’s 5-of-7 was evidence of Chapman’s ability to drive the ball and be effective on the free throw line.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Nakakihara said. “Just making shots and working on our offense, it’s fairly new for all of us.”
There are 10 freshmen on Chapman’s 22-man roster this season, though only center Reed Smith, who started, and guard Kevin Marlow, who played two minutes, got their college debuts during the game.
“I’m starting to get to know them, to know what their personalities are, meaning that when the going gets tough, how will they react?” said head coach Mike Bokosky. “Toughness isn’t hitting somebody, it’s staying on-task, so we’re looking for those characteristics on our team.”
Nakakihara attributed the game’s rocky start to first-game jitters.
“Even (for) some of the returners, there’s always a little bit of extra nerve and anxiety just being the first game,” Nakakihara said.
Chapman will go on a five-game road trip starting at Whittier College against the University of California, Merced at 6 p.m. Nov. 24, and the College of New Rochelle at 5 p.m. Nov. 25.
“Playing defense and rebounding the ball (are things we need to work on),” Bokosky said. “I think we’re anemic in those things and I think it’s just toughness and a willingness to do it. You might get banged a bit, but hey, those are the two things. Everyone can score points, it’s about who works on their defense.”