Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
LA VERNE, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Basketball team despite being knocked out of playoff contention ended the 2016-17 season on a high note acting as spoilers Tuesday night as they stunned the University of La Verne 88-85 on Senior Night.
The Purple & Gold played some of their best basketball last night and withstood a late rally in the final :48 seconds to hold on for the road win. The Poets led by nine but saw Khneal Mason get a clean steal with :35 seconds left and lay it up that cut the deficit to 85-79. Whittier made one of two free throws on the ensuing possession but ULV' Hakim Arnold would score on a put back that made it a five point game with :12 seconds to play.
Louis Kurihara (Culver City, Calif.) came up clutch from the line knocking down both but the Leopards Arnold would come up big rushing down the floor and hitting a floater with :5 seconds to play. But the game wasn't done there. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Conner Longmire (Tarzana, Calif.) sent a baseball pass down the court to a wide open Eric Davis (Ventura, Calif.) but overshot him with Mason ending up with the ball. Mason then drove the length of the court and made the layup, while getting fouled. This made the score 88-85 with 1.1 seconds but he would miss the free throw allowing the Poets to hold on for the win.
Jake Moore (Dallas, TX) led Whittier with 20 points, Kurihara finished with 18 and the Poets had three other players reach double digits in scoring. Longmire chipped in 17 off the bench, Nick Potthoff (Phoenix, AZ) scored 12 and Chris Kapano (Los Alamitos, Calif.) had 10 points in 12 minutes.
Whittier held a lead as many as 17, which came in the second half at the 14:25 mark. The help came from the first half when WC outscored ULV 43-34, while shooting 52% from the floor.
Whittier shot 48% from the floor and was dead even on rebounds at 43-43. They had 12 second chance points and 30 points in the paint, while receiving 26 points from the bench.