ORANGE, Calif. – Junior James Taylor led the Chapman University men's basketball team to a skid-snapping 70-59 win over Cal Lutheran on Saturday. Taylor lit up the scoreboard with 26 points as the Panthers (8-10, 3-6 SCIAC) led wire-to-wire in the win.
Taylor scored the first two baskets of the game and the Panthers never relinquished the lead as they ended a five-game skid. The two layups were just the beginning of a big night for Taylor, who was and efficient 11-of-16 from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 from the line. He scored 14 points in the first half and went 5-of-6 in the second half to put up 12 more. Sophomore Reed Nakakihara hit all eight of his free throws and drained three triples for 19 points.
Taylor was just shy of a double-double with nine rebounds to go along with three assists and four blocks.
The Panthers never gave up the lead but the Kingsmen stayed in the game behind 20 points from Caleb Richey and 17 points from Wolfgang Wood. Chapman's lead grew to as much as 15 points in the first half but Cal Lutheran cut that down to just eight points by halftime.
The Kingsmen sliced the lead down to as little as three in the second half but Chapman always had an answer when the visitors made a run. When a pair of free throws made it 52-49 with six minutes to go, senior Josh Cohan and Taylor scored back-to-back buckets with a big Cohan block in the middle to make it a seven-point game again.
With just over a minute left, the lead was down to five points but Taylor and Nakakihara calmly drained all eight free throw attempts in the final minute while the Kingsmen managed just two points over the same span.
The Panthers overcame 19 turnovers by shooting 59.5 percent on the night and mad 5-of-8 three-point attempts. They also outrebounded the Kingsmen 33-20. Cal Lutheran shot just 36.4 percent and made only 25 percent of its three-point tries.
The Panthers hit the road next week for games at Redlands and La Verne before returning home on Feb. 9.
by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director