By Christian Cataldo
The Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team finished the regular season with a heartbreaking loss against Humboldt State, losing by a score of 75-72. The Broncos miss out on a regular season conference title, with Chico State now reigning as the California Collegiate Athletic Association regular season champions.
The Broncos will enter the CCAA Tournament as the second seed, having a first-round bye and their first game on Saturday.
“Our guys are really disappointed,” said head coach Greg Kamansky. “We had a championship on the line, and didn’t quite get there.”
Humboldt State’s senior night made Lumberjack Arena crowded on Saturday, packing in 1,850 fans. The atmosphere in the gym was tense as the high scoring Jacks faced off against the nationally ranked Bronco defense.
The Jacks brought high intensity to the game, as they lit up the scoreboard early. The Broncos’ defense was off, allowing Humboldt to score 41 points in the first half. The Jacks converted on eight of 15 three pointers, giving them 24 points from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Austin Bryan, who leads the CCAA in three-point percentage, hit three of his four three-point attempts and scored 12 points in the first half, reaching the 1,000 point mark as a Jack.
With the Jacks lighting it up from beyond the arc, the Broncos attacked the basket to get 26 points in the paint in the half. Junior forward Jordan Faison took advantage of his defender, scoring 12 points and grabbing five rebounds. Faison’s efforts kept CPP in the game.
Going into the halftime, the Jacks held onto an eight-point lead and the game’s momentum.
“Going into the second half, we just had to tighten up our defense,” said senior guard Terrence Drisdom. “[For] being the number one defense in the nation, it looked pretty bad out there.
“We just had to change some things around, communicate more and rotate more.”
The Broncos’ defense bounced back in the second half, preventing the Jacks from hitting any more than one three-pointer to finish out the game.
At this point, CPP was now playing its brand of basketball to put itself back in the game: strong defense and attacking the paint.
Drisdom asserted himself and scored 11 points, while also racking up four rebounds in the second half. He was also a pest on defense, with two steals and one block.
With only 13 seconds remaining in the game, the Broncos found themselves down by one with the ball in Drisdom’s hands. He drove to the basket but the referee called a travelling call, which angered both Bronco players and coaches.
“I didn’t think it was a travel at all,” said Drisdom. “The defender pulled my arm down, but the ref didn’t see it.
“We weren’t expecting to get any calls going into the game, so towards the end we just tried to put ourselves in the best position to make the right play.”
Kamansky also shared his thoughts on the call.
“Terrence made a good move I thought, but we didn’t get the call, and we have to move on from that,” said Kamansky.
With 11 seconds left, the Broncos had an opportunity to even the score ” but Drisdom’s step back three-pointer didn’t find the bottom of the net.
Drisdom shared his thoughts on if the tough loss gave his team a renewed sense of motivation going into the post-season.
“Absolutely,” said Drisdom. “We all think we are going to see them again in the second round, [and] we are definitely confident [that] we can beat this team.
“We want to get them back, [as] this is one of the big rivalries of this year.”
If Humboldt wins its first game in the tournament, CPP will get a chance at revenge in a win-or-go home game.
Earlier in the week on Thursday, the Broncos took on Cal State Bernardino and trampled them with overpowering defense.
CPP held the Coyotes to 12 points in the first half and 24 points in the second. The Coyotes 36 points were the lowest the team scored in a game in the school’s history.
The Broncos held them to a staggering 19 percent shooting, coming from 11 for 56 shooting.
Drisdom, Faison and junior guard Barry Bell finished the game with double-digit points and big rebounding numbers.
Drisdom notched a double-double, grabbing 11 rebounds to go with his 16 points. Faison scored 11 points and took eight rebounds. Bell also finished with 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Hayden Yi / The Poly Post
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