Senior Night Ends With Bang

By Michael Zavala

The men’s basketball team has been no stranger to close
victories this season.

It’s only fitting that Senior Night ended with two of Cal Poly’s
seniors carrying the team to another heart-stopping victory.

“It’s a great way for our seniors to go out,” said head coach
Greg Kamansky.

No. 19 Cal Poly (19-6, 15-5) defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills
in overtime Saturday, 70-69, to stretch its win streak to seven
games. The victory came one night after the Broncos beat UC San
Diego, 68-65.

With Cal Poly down by two and 20.8 seconds left in the game
Saturday, senior Dion Cook hit a jumper to tie the game and force
the extra period.

Heading into overtime, the Broncos knew they would take the
game.

“The momentum swung from them to us,” said Cook.

In overtime, Cal Poly ran up a 4-point lead after a pair of free
throws from sophomore Larry Gordon.

Dominguez Hills then grabbed a 2-point lead, 69-67, with 1:35
remaining after a 3-pointer from Gabe Bernard.

That set the stage for senior Luis Pulido, who pulled up with
7.9 seconds left and hit the game-winning 3-pointer, his only
basket of the game.

“This team showed a lot of character,” said Kamansky. “We
started out sluggishly and it almost nipped us in the tail.”

Cook led all scorers with a career-high 39 points, one shy of
the Bronco record held by Ed Johnson. Thirty-one of Cook’s points
came after the break.

Junior Kaelen Daniels added 16 points and five assists.

Cal Poly struggled early and was down by as much as 12 before
going into the half with a 7-point deficit, 23-30.

“We didn’t have any energy to begin,” said Kamansky. “We need to
suck it up and play when we need to play.”

Cook heated up to begin the second half, scoring Cal Poly’s
first 17 points, and the last of his run gave the Broncos their
first lead of the game, 40-39.

However, the Toros hung tough, cutting two 5-point Bronco
advantages and taking a 2-point lead with 29 seconds remaining
before Cal Poly forced overtime and took home the Senior Night
victory.

“The win is magnificent,” said Cook. “The 39 points is great but
the win is everything.”

On Friday, the Broncos shot 55.2 percent from the field but went
cold at the wrong time and needed another comeback to defeat UC San
Diego.

Cook led all scorers with 21 points and Daniels had a
double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

After capturing an 8-point first half lead, San Diego ran it to
12 to begin the second.

Cal Poly responded with a 10-0 run capped by a 3-point play from
Cook to pull within two.

The Tritons continued to hold, pulling their lead back to six,
but the Broncos took the lead with an 8-0 run and kept it with free
throws from Daniels and Gordon in the final 1:26 of the game.

The Broncos know they have more work remaining, but they can’t
help but look ahead.

“It feels a lot better than last year, knowing we’re in the
playoffs,” said Cook.

Cal Poly will finish the regular season on the road at Cal State
L.A. on Friday and at Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday.

Michael Zavala can be reached by e-mail at
sports@thepolypost.com or by phone at (909) 869-4630.

Senior Night Ends With Bang

Senior Night Ends With Bang

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