While the Chapman men’s basketball team doesn’t start conference play until Jan. 2, the Panthers are currently playing local nonconference opponents to get themselves prepared.
They traveled to Life Pacific College in San Dimas on Friday, and were able to coast to an easy 85-61 victory.
Chapman (4-2) started off a bit slow, trailing 18-15 midway through the first half before going on a 15-0 run and never looking back.
Life Pacific (1-11) only got within single digits of Chapman once in the second half, when it trailed 39-30 early in the half. The Panthers were then able to build their lead up to as many as 28 points while coasting to a 24-point victory.
“To be honest, it was the first game we came out with energy to start and brought defensive pressure, which was something we have not done up to that point,” said junior guard Luke Hamlin. “So our offense took a slight hit because of the energy we expended on defense.”
Sophomore forward James Taylor continued his stellar play, scoring 28 points on a very efficient 11-of-15 shooting to go along with six rebounds.
Hamlin and freshman guard Cam Haslam were the only other Panthers scoring double figures, as Haslam scored 19 and Hamlin added 11 points in the win.
Chapman’s defense was able to force 22 turnovers, leading to the 28 points off the turnovers, which winded up being the difference in the game.
“The turnovers played a big role because we were able to get easier baskets on offense,” Hamlin said. “Coach (Mike) Bokosky has been telling us all year to deny the ball and play pressure, man defense and it was great to see the effort and result from what coach has been preaching at us to do all year defensively.”
Chapman will face a formidable opponent this upcoming Friday at 7 p.m. when the Panthers travel to the Division I University of California, Irvine. Hamlin said there is one thing the team is hoping to gain from Friday’s game.
“Experience. You will never get better unless you play or compete against someone better than you,” he said. “Playing a Division I team presents a great opportunity to experience some adversity and see how our team reacts.”