ORANGE, Calif. – Despite strong performances from Jayvaughn Nettles and Mike Palmer, the Cal Lutheran men’s basketball team was unable to topple Chapman, falling to the Panthers, 73-54, Tuesday evening in the season finale for both teams.
Nettles nearly closed his career out with a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds, while Palmer had 10 points, four rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes of action.
The balanced offensive attack of Chapman proved to be too much however. The Panthers had three players reach double-figures while outscoring CLU 43-25 in the second half.
The teams battled neck-and-neck in the first half before Cal Lutheran jumped out in front when Nettles forced a steal and converted a dunk on the other end, putting the Kingsmen up 14-11 six minutes into the first half.
Cal Lutheran would go up 17-13 after Andrew Atakpo hit a jumper and Martin Flowers sunk a free-throw but Chapman would steadily work its way back into the game over the next six minutes and took the lead after Nick Dragovich nailed a jumper and put Chapman ahead at 23-22.
The Kingsmen and Panthers would exchange two free-throws on the following possessions before Nettles sank a three-pointer in the left corner with 28 seconds left in the half, making the score 29-27 in favor of CLU. Unfortunately for the Kingsmen, Colin Zavrsnick slipped past the CLU defense and drained a three-pointer just before the buzzer, putting Chapman back out in front, 30-29.
The Panthers rode the momentum of the first half finish into the second, going on a 9-0 run to begin the half.
Four minutes later, Cal Lutheran would cut the lead to eight after back-to-back baskets from Palmer and Nettles made it 45-37 but CLU could not get any closer the rest of the way as Chapman shot 51.5 percent in the second half and earned their eighth Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) victory of the year.
Nettles led the Kingsmen with 13 points in his final game donning the violet and gold. The Northridge, Calif. native finishes his career with 775 points. Palmer was second on the team with 10 points while Tyler Nunn had a strong second half, scoring all six of his points after halftime. Cal Lutheran’s only other senior, Jordan Williams, scored a season-high four points.
Taylor Hamasaki led Chapman with 20 points while Zavrsnick finished with 14.
Cal Lutheran concludes its season at 10-15 overall and 6-10 in the SCIAC.