REDLANDS, Calif. — Defense and depth carried the Southwestern University Pirates to a 73-54 victory over the La Verne Leopards in the men's basketball season opener at the Lee Fulmer Memorial Classic.
Southwestern outscored La Verne 35-18 in bench points while holding the Leopards to just 35.7 percent shooting, including 4-for-25 from the 3-point line.
Brandon Alexander led three Pirates in double figures, recording a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 6-for-13 from the field. Reserves Joel Martinez and Kyle Poerschke led a bench brigade with a combined 27 points.
Martinez matched Alexander with a team-high 15 points, working on an efficient 6-for-9 shooting, including 2-for-3 from the 3-point line, to go with four rebounds and a block, steal, and assist. Poerschke scored 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting with five rebounds and two steals.
The Pirates set the tone on the defensive end in the first half, limiting La Verne to just 8-for-28 shooting, including 2-for-10 from deep, opening the game on a 14-2 run to take a 48-21 lead into the break.
Poerschke was a spark off the bench, scoring 10 points on seven shots in his first six minutes of play. Alexander also had 10 on 5-for-9 shooting while Luke Hicks score seven points on five shots in the half.
Southwestern struggled from the field in the second half, shooting only 34.6 percent after the break as the Pirates emptied the bench with the game out of reach.
Starters Hicks, Zac Black, and Andrew Puhl each scored seven points with the latter two playing less than 20 minutes in the blowout victory. The Pirates shot 47.7 percent from field and took nine more shots than La Verne, out-rebounding the Leopards 38-29.
Jordan Allen was the only La Verne player in double figures, scoring 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting with five rebounds.
Southwestern will face host Redlands tomorrow night at 9:00. Redlands is 1-1 this season with a victory over Linfield and a 74-71 overtime loss to the University of Texas-Dallas Comets.