Men’s basketball opened the 2018-19 season at home with a blowout win against Saint Catherine Wednesday evening, Nov. 14.
Bronco fans were finally able to get a glimpse of this year’s team as Cal Poly took the floor in dominating fashion, beating the Firebirds 91-61.
Contributions came from all players as four Broncos scored in double figures, led by junior guard William Christmas, who put up 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Christmas said. “It was a really good team effort and I just think when I can come out and be aggressive like today, it really sets the tone for everybody else.”
The offense was rolling for the Broncos in the first half as they shot 58.8 percent from the field.
To get things started, Christmas found the junior guard Dwight Ramos, who nailed the three pointer and put the Broncos on the board first.
The only tie came early in the first half, when both teams were knotted at 5 apiece. From there, the Broncos went on a 23-0 run and never seemed to look back.
Midway through the first half, the Broncos held a 20-point lead, but junior guard Riley Schaefer would extend that lead with back-to-back three pointers.
With less than a minute remaining in the first half, Ramos took it hard to the basket and finished through the contact for the and-one opportunity. He completed the three-point play by knocking down the free throw and Cal Poly headed into the locker room at halftime with a comfortable 51-24 lead over the Firebirds.
Not only was the offense clicking for Cal Poly Wednesday night, but defensively they were locked in as well.
“That’s our forte for our program,” head coach Greg Kamansky said. “We’ve been one of the top teams in the country in defense for the last decade, but we still have to get better.”
CPP held Saint Catherine to just 12 points in the paint compared to its 48.
Senior guard Jordan Ogundiran wasted no time as he knocked down a contested jumper to open the second half.
From there, Cal Poly went on a 17-2 run.
A steal by Nikhil Peters lead to a three-on-one fast break opportunity for the Broncos. Peters dished it out to Ogundiran who laid the ball in for an easy two and forced Saint Catherine to call a timeout.
“I was just playing within the flow of the game,” Ogundiran said. “My teammates made it easy for me by just looking up in transition and getting me the ball in spots where I could score.”
Ogundiran ended the night filling up the stat sheet with 14 points, five assists and on the defensive end, he had seven steals to go along with five rebounds.
Out of the timeout, Chris Sullivan grabbed the rebound off a miss from the Firebirds and dribbled the ball down the court.
He found Finn Eckhardt in the paint for a wide-open layup and the Broncos got their largest lead of the night at 44.
Saint Catherine decided to go into a full court press and were able to get three back-to-back three-pointers, but the score still remained 76-44 in favor of the Broncos.
Mason Dickerson hit a corner three to end the Firebirds 9-0 run.
With just 41 seconds remaining in the game, Dickerson drove into the paint and found Chim Okorafor, who laid it up with his left hand as the Broncos earned themselves a 91-61 victory.
“It was a good first performance,” Kamansky said. “I was happy with them. They got some confidence shooting-wise, which we’re going to need as we play big-time teams.”
Ramos had an impressive night in his first game as a Bronco with 14 points and five rebounds, while Phoenix Shackelford also scored in double digits with 12 points off the bench.
The Broncos defeated Dixie State 72-66 on Saturday night to give them their second win of the season. Ramos led the team with 26 points and seven rebounds in the game.
The Broncos will head to San Francisco State on Nov. 29th to start CCAA play.
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