Men’s basketball loses conference-opener to Pomona-Pitzer

Courtesy of Larry Newman

Courtesy of Larry Newman

The Chapman men’s basketball team lost its first game in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) on the road against Pomona-Pitzer on Nov. 30, 64-60.

“We’re disappointed, naturally, but Pomona is a good team,” said sophomore point guard Reed Nakakihara. “Luckily, it’s early on in the season, so we have time to make adjustments and start playing the right way.”

Although the Panthers (2-3, 0-1) were in the lead in the first half 28-26, the Sagehens (2-2, 1-0) caught up and beat them 38-32 in the second half, which led to their overall victory.

“A few calls didn’t go our way and we made it a bigger problem than it was,” said junior guard Tyler Green. “I think we just had a little span where we didn’t execute as we should have but we see it now and we know where our faults are.”

Despite the loss, Green said that the team played a good game, and certain plays worked out in their favor.

“We were down by 13 with nine minutes left and Cam (Haslam, sophomore shooting guard) had a few big shots down the stretch, then we came back, dug in on defense and got some stops,” Green said. “It was a one-point game with under a minute to play and we had some opportunities down the stretch. We just didn’t make them.”

Despite winning the SCIAC last year, this was the Panthers’ third loss of the season.

“I think we haven’t played a consistent 40-minute game,” Nakakihara said. “It’s hard to come back from funks, which happen throughout the game.”

A weak defense was one of the most prominent reasons to which the players attributed their loss.

Assistant coach Mike Molina said that players seem to have more energy when they get stops on the offensive, as defense translates to offense.

“We might have a guy doing a great job on the ball and then we’ve got a guy sleeping on the help side,” Molina said. “We have four or five possessions and we look good, but if we have 10 bad ones, it doesn’t matter because there’s no consistency there.”

Despite starting the conference with a loss, Green said that the team still has a chance to ultimately win, and it plans to work harder and learn from mistakes to make that happen.

“(The loss) is not ideal but it’s not the end of the world,” Nakakihara said.

The Panthers face off against the University of La Verne in their next conference game on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Hutton Sports Center.

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