Men’s basketball opened up California Collegiate Athletic Assoc. play with an 78-71 overtime win against San Francisco State Thursday evening.
The largest lead of the game came late in the first half off a layup from Riley Schaefer when the visiting Broncos found themselves up by 10.
That lead wouldn’t last long, however, as an aggressive San Francisco team ended the first half on a 16-8 run to cut the lead to just two for CPP.
The Gators would carry that momentum over into the second half as an early three from the corner gave them a 34-33 lead.
Turnovers continued to hurt the Broncos as they allowed 22 points off their 22 turnovers for the night.
At the 11:45 mark, San Francisco had extended its lead to nine and the crowd was enjoying every bit of it.
Cal Poly dialed in and a layup by Jordan Ogundiran sparked a much needed 14-0 run for the Broncos, who found themselves back on top by five with just 6:47 remaining in regulation.
An outside jumper put the Gators up by two with just 2:55 left, but head coach Greg Kamansky trusted his team down the stretch and let the Broncos play through it.
“They have to be able to play and think for themselves out there,” coach Kamansky said. “I’m not a coach that tries to control every little thing because then they start thinking about too many things. I want them to play and trust their instincts out there.”
Trusting their instinct is exactly what CPP did as Chris Sullivan dished the ball to Phoenix Shackelford who nailed the corner three and put the Broncos back up by one.
Shackelford ended the night with 14 points.
The Gators answered back with a layup off a missed CPP free throw to tie the game up once again.
Out of the timeout, Ryne Williams knocked down an outside jumper for the Gators and put them up by three with just 24 seconds on the clock.
The Broncos had a chance to tie the game, but another turnover would force them to foul and send the Gators to the line where they would go 1-1.
Down by four with only three seconds left in the game, William Christmas went for a quick layup but was fouled immediately by San Francisco.
A flagrant foul was assessed on the Gators, which gave CPP two free throws and the ball. Christmas went to the line and calmly knocked down both and made it a one-possession game.
Cal Poly came out of the timeout and inbounded the ball underneath its basket. Christmas found a cutting Schaefer, who laid the ball in and tied the game with just 2.4 seconds on the clock.
“Coach drew up a really good play,” Schaefer said. “We ran it exactly how we were supposed to and he told me to just look for gaps in the middle of the lane and I found one and then Will made a great pass and I just did my job and made the layup.”
The time expired and Cal Poly was able to force the game into overtime.
“We really dug in,” coach Kamansky said. “We were down four late in the game and we made a play and got a good call to be able to get the ball back and execute at the end of the game to tie it up and send it to overtime.”
San Francisco hit two free throws that started the scoring in overtime, but the Broncos answered with a layup by Shackelford and another jumper by Christmas.
From there Cal Poly went on a 8-3 run to come out with a hard fought 78-71 win over the Gators.
Schaefer dominated on all cylinders as he finished the night with 20 points, nine rebounds and he was also 9-10 from the line.
Christmas and Nikhil Peters also scored in double digits with 13 and 10, respectively.
The Broncos suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday night against Stanislaus State 78-71.
Four players scored in double figures. Ogundiran and Christmas both had 14, while Shackelford and Schaefer each had 11.
The Broncos, who are now 3-1 overall, 1-1 in CCAA, will continue their road trip as they take on Sonoma State Saturday at 3 p.m. and then Cal State San Marcos on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
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