By Miguel Lopez
The Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team split the weekend at home, defeating the Cal State East Bay Pioneers in an overtime thriller 73-69 on Saturday and falling to the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters at the buzzer 67-65 on Thursday.
The Green and Gold now holds a record of 19-5 with a 12-5 mark in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
In front of 673 spectators, CPP’s contest against the Pioneers was a back-and-forth matchup throughout the game.
“It was a must win for us,” said Head Coach Greg Kamansky. “Any win at this point of the season is great. All of our guys really stepped up tonight.”
Senior forward Jordan Faison had a strong offensive and defensive performance. He finished the game with 20 points on an 8-for-15 shooting night followed by eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
“Jordan came with some confidence and made some big plays down the stretch for us,” said Kamansky.
Freshmen guard Jordan Ogundiran made big shots down the stretch and was the playmaker for the Broncos. He finished the game with 12 points to go along with eight assists.
CPP got off to a great start in the first 10 minutes of the first half, after getting an early 17-11 lead. The Broncos increased the lead in the last 10 minutes of the game by double digits and headed into halftime with a 32-20 lead.
“[Ogundiran] played well in the first five minutes,” said Kamansky. “We played hard for the first 20 minutes.
In the first eight minutes of the second half, the Pioneers went on an 18-4 run to lead for the first time since the first minutes of regulation. For the rest of the second half, both teams kept exchanging leads.
With two minutes remaining in regulation, senior guard Barry Bell connected on a three-point play to give his team a 57-56 lead. However, the Otters refused to go away, as they were able to tie the game at 59-59 to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Faison made some big plays after making a three-point shot to tie the game and making a big free throw with one minute remaining to give his team a one-point lead. The Broncos were able to make their free throws in the last minute of overtime to secure the victory.
“We made some big [free throws] down the stretch,” said Kamansky. “Sometimes that’s the difference of winning and losing games. We did a good job in getting to the free throw line tonight.”
“When we compete at a high level and our energy is there, there are not a lot of teams that can stay with us,” said Faison.
Earlier in the week on Thursday, in front of 833 spectators, the Broncos lost a hard fought battle against the Otters on a buzzer beater to end the game.
Faison led his team both offensively and defensively. Faison finished the game with 18 points on a 7-for-12 shooting night to go along with 12 rebounds and three blocks.
“We’re trying to get him the ball a lot,” said Kamansky. “We’re trying to really utilize him, and we got to get guys surrounding him that can step up and make some jump shots and [relieve] some of that pressure.”
The Green and Gold got some spark off the bench from Ogundiran. The freshmen contributed 13 points, including a three-point shot with 12 seconds left in regulation to give his team the lead.
CPP got off to a slow start in the first five minutes of the game after being down 11-4. The Green and Gold finished the first half on a 22-18 run to cut the deficit to 29-26 before heading into halftime.
The Broncos did not have their first lead of the game until the 10-minute mark in the second half, after Ogundiran made a pair of free throws. The last 10 minutes of the game saw CPP and the Otters exchanging baskets and led to the game being decided in its final seconds.
With the Otters leading 64-62 with 12 seconds left of regulation, Ogundiran nailed a three-point shot to give his team a one-point lead. Seconds later Cal State Monterey Bay knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.
The Broncos did much better offensively in the second half, after shooting 55.5 percent compared to 35.2 percent in the first half.
“It’s important for us,” said Faison. “I think it does a lot for our confidence. Once we start making jumpers in the beginning of the half, it just kind of builds up towards the end.”
Ogundiran had some high praise from his coach and teammates after making big shots down the stretch.
“It’s big,” said Faison. “We need confident shooters down the stretch.”
“[Ogundiran has] been a real good spark for us this year,” said Kamansky. “He’s a true freshman out there playing in a playoff-type atmosphere. He’s going to make mistakes, but he’s not afraid out there.”
Miguel Lopez / The Poly Post
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