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Chapman Hopes to End NAIA Jinx

The Chapman men’s basketball team will attempt to end its streak of futility against NAIA teams Friday when the Panthers play host to Christ College Irvine.

Chapman (4-4), an NCAA Division II team, has had mixed success this season, but the Panthers have lost all three of their games against NAIA Division I teams.

Early-season losses to Southern California College and Biola, both perennial powers in the NAIA District 3, may be explicable but last week’s 89-85 loss at Bethany College is hard to figure. Bethany was was picked to finish 11th of 12 teams in District 3.

Chapman has only three players back from the team that finished last in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. and the eight new players are still struggling to adjust to each other.

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At times, the Panthers have played aggressively on defense, helping the offense to long scoring runs. But all too often opponents have been able to hurt Chapman with long-range shooting while the Panthers’ half-court offense labors.

Rog Middleton, the Panthers’ leading scorer the past two seasons, continues to move up the Chapman career-scoring chart.

Middleton, a 6-foot-4 senior who graduated from Tustin High, scored 25 points in a 73-51 victory over San Francisco State last week, giving him 1,554 career points and moving him past Eric Butler (1979-82) into third place on the all-time list.

In second place is Jeff Cotwright, who scored 1,575 points from 1961-64. Middleton is 330 points short of Bob Hamblin (1956-59), the all-time leader with 1,884. With 18 regular-season games remaining, Middleton needs to average 18.4 points to take over first place.

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Middleton averaged 20 points as a post player in each of the past two seasons but this season he is adjusting to a new offensive role, one that has him facing the basket more often. As a result, he has averaged only 16.4 a game.

Christ College Irvine (5-5) probably will be playing without starting point guard Charles Lockard, who has a sinus and throat infection.

Lockard lost eight pounds between a victory over Mount Mercy Friday and the Eagles’ game Saturday against Southern California College. Lockard scored eight points in CCI’s 61-53 loss to the Vanguards and didn’t play in the Eagles’ 86-79 loss to Northern Montana Monday.

Because of his illness, there won’t be a matchup between Lockard and Chapman guard Brian Kenney, who were teammates at Cypress College.

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“Hopefully, it’s going to be a great game,” CCI Coach Greg Marshall said. “I think our styles are similar but we don’t have their depth.”

College Division Notes

SCC’s Mike West was named most valuable player of the Christ College Irvine tournament after the Vanguards’ victory over CCI Saturday. Edmond Johnson, a junior transfer from Saddleback College, was named to the all-tournament team. CCI’s Brian Hazelwood was also named to the all-tournament team. . . . The Chapman men’s tennis team is ranked 13th in the NCAA Division II preseason poll. Michael Zuercher is ranked 17th, Laurent Dropsy is 37th and Aris Vassiliou 46th in the singles rankings. Zuercher and Dropsy are ranked 16th in doubles.


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