Christmas carries Broncos to upset win

By David Wilson

“Keep your head up!” coach Greg Kamansky screamed at his bench as he stormed past on his way back to his seat after his team squandered two chances off two Chico State turnovers late in the second half.

The Broncos did that and more as they came back to beat last year’s NCAA Division II West Region champions Chico State 83-79 in double overtime in their California Collegiate Athletic Association home opener on Dec. 1.

With 56 seconds left and trailing 57-54, sophomore guard William Christmas drove under the basket and laid the ball off the glass drawing a foul in the process.

After completing the three-point play, Chico senior guard Corey Silverstrom drove to the basket, laying the ball home to put Chico State (6-1, 9-2) up 59-57 with 39 ticks remaining.

Junior guard Jordan Ogundiran, who had gone quiet in the second half after an 18 point first, pulled up from three on the next possession, but the ball clanked off the rim.

Christmas pulled down the offensive rebound and scored on the put back with 13 seconds left to tie the game.

“At the time we were down so it’s kind of all or nothing. You’re just looking to make a play,” Christmas said. “If he makes it great we’re up and if he misses I got to go try and make a play on the ball to get us an extra possession.”

Christmas, who scored four points in the first half, finished with a career-high 31 points, and scored the Broncos last nine points in regulation to force overtime.

“I realized that I had a rough first half and that in order for us to win I’m going to have to be aggressive and I’m going to have to be able to make plays,” Christmas said.

In the first overtime, the Broncos jumped out to a seven-point lead thanks to two three pointers by senior guard Quentin Taylor and a layup by Ogundiran who drove to his left before going underneath the basket with his right and laying the ball in off the glass.

Taylor had missed his previous two three-point attempts, and had zero points heading into overtime.

“Besides Jordan (Ogundiran), we were just begging for someone to hit a three,” Kamansky said.

Before the crowd inside Kellogg Arena could retake their seats, Chico senior guard Jalen McFerren knocked down a corner three and was fouled in the process.

The four-point play cut the lead to three and after Ogundiran made one of two from the free-throw line, Chico replicated Cal Poly Pomona’s feat from regulation when McFerren rebounded Silverstrom’s missed three-pointer in the paint and laid it in to tie the game at 68.

Ogundiran heaved a half-court prayer at the buzzer, and for a split second the crowd believed, but the ball clanged off the back of the rim.

The game refused to end.

In the second overtime, frustrations at some of the officiating boiled over in the stands and on the Broncos’ bench.

Ogundiran and Taylor fouled out in double overtime after senior guard Daylan Lawrence and sophomore Riley Schaefer did the same earlier in the game.

“That’s why we have our coaches and our teammates there to keep us in check sometimes when we get out of hand and when things aren’t going right,” Ogundiran said.

Cal Poly Pomona (6-1, 9-2) held what looked to be a comfortable six-point lead with 37 seconds left.

Chico cut the lead in half when junior guard Nate Ambrosini knocked down a three-pointer. On the next possession Taylor could not find a teammate on the inbound incurring a five-second violation and handing possession back to the Wildcats.

Freshman guard Calvin Geraci had a chance to tie the game with a corner three, but missed with 0:20 left in the game.

After freshman guard Phoenix Shackelford made one of two from the free-throw line to extend the lead to 82-78.

Taylor picked up his fifth foul sending McFerren to the line. McFerren made the first, but when his second shot missed, Chico came up with the offensive rebound.

Senior guard Jeff Nibo sealed the win moments later when he blocked an attempted layup with 11 seconds left.

The story of the first half was all about Ogundiran who finished with 18 of the Broncos 27 points and hit his first four field goals to start the game.

“After the second one falls I started getting my confidence sky high,” Ogundiran said. “After that I’m in a groove.”

Ogundiran scored 10 of the Broncos first 14 points and 15 of their first 21.

“Thank god,” Kamansky said. “You don’t want to wear him down that’s my big thing with him. He says, ‘coach I don’t care,’ he’ll keep going and going until he has two nubs on his legs.”

The win marked CPP’s fifth consecutive win against Chico State despite the Wildcats recent success in the CCAA and the West Region.

“We know what we’re capable of doing,” Christmas said.

“We had a tough year last year but we kind of brought it together toward the end, we had everybody coming back and we had a good team and we know what it takes to win.”

William Christmas scored 31 points against Chico

Anthony Carrillo / The Poly Post

William Christmas scored 31 points against Chico

Christmas scored four points in the first half before scoring 27 points in the second half and overtime

Anthony Carrillo / The Poly Post

Christmas scored four points in the first half before scoring 27 points in the second half and overtime

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