LA VERNE, California - The Prairie Fire men's basketball team defeated the University of La Verne 69-60 on December 18.
Jordan Rayner put Knox on the board early when he hit a three-pointer on the first possession. He added to the lead with a layup and another trey before the Leopards were able to score. Rayner then gave the Prairie Fire an early 10 point advantage when he hit another jumper from long-range. Knox held a double-digit lead through most of the first half and led 39-22 by halftime.
Matt Garife started the second half off with a three-pointer on the first possession, but La Verne soon chipped away at the Knox lead and tied the game at 49-49 with 12:08 left to play. The next few minutes were a battle, with the teams exchanging leads. The Prairie Fire regained control around the 8:00 mark and regained their double-digit lead for the final minutes to cruise to victory.
Rayner led all scorers with 21 points for the game. Sean Gallery added 12 points and six rebounds. Garife finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
"We were firing on all cylinders in the first half," said head coach Ben Davis. "The second half was more of a struggle with La Verne making some good adjustments at halftime. We settled down and made some adjustments ourselves and earned a well fought victory."
Knox will have some downtime the next few weeks and will return to action as they travel to Lake Forest on January 4 to resume conference play.