Broncos Nearly Bounce USC

By Albert Perez

There is no doubt that winning helps retain a team’s overall
confidence, but there are also times where confidence can be
retained in defeat. Such is the case with Cal Poly’s men’s
basketball team.

On Saturday afternoon, despite keeping it close throughout most
parts of the game, the Broncos were unable to pick up a win in
their final exhibition game and lost to USC, 56-47, at the new
Galen Center.

It was the Broncos third straight loss in exhibition road games
against NCAA Division 1 foes, losing 61-57 to Loyola Marymount on
Nov. 6 and 73-43 to UCLA on Nov. 2.

“I think we are still confident, even though we didn’t win any
of the three games,” said head coach Greg Kamansky. “We were close
to a couple of good teams. The LMU game, and today we were close
the whole way, it wasn’t like the UCLA game. I think our confidence
is still there.”

Aside from retaining their confidence, senior Dion Cook feels
that having played against top players and teams in the exhibition
season “definitely” gives them an edge heading into the regular
season.

“Playing against high level competition is preparing for the
regular season, a long regular season,” said Cook.

Playing before a crowd of 2,213, both teams engaged in a stingy
defensive affair from the get go. The Broncos were able to keep up
with the Trojans, and finished the first half trailing, 25-20.

In the second half, turnovers hurt the Broncos, but they never
fell behind by more than 10 points. The team managed to hit four
3-pointers to keep the Broncos thinking of a come-from-behind win
until the final minute of the game.

The Broncos made only 30 percent of their field goal attempts,
with the Trojans making 40.9 percent. Defensively, both teams
produced 16 turnovers, and nearly controlled the boards evenly,
with the Trojans finishing with the slight rebounding advantage,
36-31.

Kamansky felt that against the Trojans, his team played a lot
better, especially on defense, which he feels is going to be the
key for them early in the season.

“I think we are going to have our defense keep us in games early
on until we get our offense rolling a little better,” said
Kamansky.

For the second straight game, Cook led the Broncos in scoring
with 17 points along with his two rebounds and two steals. He was
nearly perfect from the free throw line making 9-of-11 shots.

“We came together, executed a little bit on offense, so that
made it easier for us to get some buckets,” said Cook.

Sophomore Larry Gordon finished with eight points and seven
rebounds, sophomore Bill Forelli finished with seven points and
three rebounds and senior Billy Hofman finished with six points,
four assists, three rebounds and two steals.

Freshman Taj Gibson was the Trojans leading scorer with 11
points.

“Going in playing a team like USC, that brings a lot of
pressure,” said Gordon. “But I felt we played good. We came
together as a team, played hard and gave them a little
something.”

Regarding the team’s aspirations going into the regular season,
Gordon feels they are better than last year’s team and have good
chance to compete.

“We are way, way better than last year’s team,” said Gordon. “We
went 17-10; we made a lot of mistakes.”

He feels the team’s ability to learn from their mistakes is
going to be a deciding factor in their success this season.

“One thing about this team is that we learn from our mistakes
quick,” said Gordon. “So I think we won’t make the same mistakes
throughout. We will have a good season.”

The men’s basketball team will open the regular season this
Friday against Western Washington in a tournament at Seattle
Pacific.

Albert Perez can be reached at sports@thepolypost.com or by
phone at (909) 869-4630.

Broncos Nearly Bounce USC

Broncos Nearly Bounce USC

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