By Christian Cataldo
The Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team fell to Azusa Pacific 77-67 on Saturday, which knocked them out of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II tournament. The Broncos finished their season with an overall record of 24-7 and 17-5 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play.
Coming off of a hard-fought win against Dixie State on Friday, the Broncos hung in for the second round against Azusa Pacific, the West Region’s top seed. CPP held a three-point lead early in the game, but after three minutes of play, APU took control of the game and never let it go.
“We didn’t get off to as good of a start,” said head coach Greg Kamansky. “We let them get some open looks, and they got confidence in there.
“We had to play catch-up the whole game.”
The Cougars attacked the Broncos’ top-ranked defense with three-point shots, converting on seven of 15 attempts from behind the arc in the first half. Six of those attempts converted three-pointers came from senior guards Troy Leaf and Kevin Stafford, who each hit three.
“[CPP] makes you make plays,” said APU head coach Justin Leslie. “You cannot be passive and wait for them to break down. The three-point shot is one of those things that they make you take against them and they contest them hard.
“If that’s what they’re giving you, then you have to be prepared for the moment, and our guys were prepared.”
Early in the game, junior forward Jordan Faison stayed on the bench after three early fouls. Senior guard Terrence Drisdom picked up the slack on offense, scoring 14 first-half points.
Going into the second half, the Broncos were down by nine. Drisdom continued to keep the offense up, scoring the first 10 points of the half for his team. APU answered with timely baskets throughout the second half.
Despite Drisdom’s career high 31-point performance, the Broncos fell short due to the Cougars’ outstanding outside shooting. APU finished the game with 11 three-pointers, four of which came from Leaf’s 30-point performance.
This game marked Drisdom’s last in his collegiate career.
“One thing I always tell myself is just to not have any regrets, so at the end of the day I can hold my head up, because I gave everything out there tonight, just as the team did,” said Drisdom.
Kamansky also talked about Drisdom and his career.
“I’m going to miss [Drisdom] a lot,” said Kamansky. “He had a great career for us. This young man has overcome a lot.
“I’m so proud of [Drisdom]. He deserves all the accolades, and we’re definitely going to miss him.”
Before the Broncos took on the Cougars, they defeated the Dixie State Red Storm 62-60 in the tournament’s first round. The game came down to the wire and finished in dramatic fashion, with Drisdom knocking down a buzzer-beater floater.
Drisdom talked about the feeling of hitting such a big shot.
“It’s kind of unreal,” said Drisdom. “That was my first game-winner ever.”
Faison talked about the mindset going into that last possession.
“We had confidence,” said Faison. “We have one of the best shot makers in the game right now [Drisdom], so I personally didn’t feel any pressure.”
The Broncos played their typical style of defensive basketball, holding the Red Storm to only 60 points. CPP forced 17 of Dixie State’s turnovers, which it converted into 28 points. Drisdom finished the game with seven steals.
“A lot of the time our defense leads to our points,” said Kamansky. “We know especially in [offensive] dry spells that we need to create turnovers.”
Both teams had three players finish with double-digit points. For the Broncos, Drisdom finished with 18 points, Faison with 16 points, and senior guard Daniel Rodriguez with 13 points.
Regardless of the tournament loss, there were a few great moments in the Broncos’ 2014-15 season. Both Drisdom and Faison reached the 1,000-point mark in their Bronco career and made the All-CCAA First Team.
Drisdom finished as the CCAA Player of the Year, and made his first game-winning shot against Dixie State. And Kamansky picked up his 300th win as head coach earlier this year.
For the 2015-16 season, expect the Broncos to come back with even more intensity.
Hayden Yi /The Poly Post
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