LOS ANGELES — The Occidental men's basketball team defended its way through some major shooting woes to edge La Verne 54-50 at Rush Gym on Saturday and stay unbeaten in SCIAC play.
Austin DeWitz was the only guy who really had it going on offense, finishing with a game-high 26 points, on 11 for 23 shooting, seven rebounds and two blocks in all 40 minutes played. His biggest play of the game was a sweep through and attack the basket for a reverse layup with 40 seconds left to put the Tigers up 51-48.
Oxy shot 29 percent from the field for the game and 1 for 11 from the 3-point line.
Zach Baines, the reigning SCIAC player of the Week, scored 17 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds. He went 6 for 25 from the field, but came through in the clutch as he has all season with a pair of free throws to ice the game. He also contested La Verne's last attempt to tie the game with the score 52-50, forcing a high-floating missed shot.
Oxy scrapped and clawed its way back from a 28-23 halftime deficit.
La Verne played desperate and stayed in the game every time Oxy looked like it might inch closer to a double-digit lead in the last 10 minutes.
Oxy point guard Ryan Kaneshiro had an outstanding game, handling La Verne's pressure and rebounding the ball. He finished with three points, three assists and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes.
Caleb Yellin-Flaherty chipped in four points, eight rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals, with no turnovers. When the Leopards tried to pound the ball inside, Yellin-Flaherty was able to tie up the shooters and force misses or loose balls.
Victor Costa led La Verne with 21 points and Connor Head added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
La Verne's shooting wasn't much better than Oxy's at 33 percent for the game due to the Tigers defense.
Season Impact: Oxy improves to 16-2 overall and 9-0 in SCIAC.
La Verne falls to 0-18 and 0-9.
Next Game: The Tigers are all set for a first-place showdown against defending SCIAC Champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps next Saturday at 5 p.m.Follow Oxy Athletics on Twitter Sign Up for Newsletters Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram