Men’s basketball kicked off the 2019-20 season with a 62-66 loss versus Azusa Pacific University on Friday night in Seattle, Washington, for the Sodexo Classic.
The Broncos shot 42 percent from the field and 46 percent from the 3-point line.
“I liked the heart we showed at the end coming back from a 10-point deficit that we dug ourselves into,” head coach Greg Kamanksy said. “And this is a good team, but we have room for improvement. Some of the things I thought we were weak at were exposed tonight.”
The only Bronco with double figures in scoring was junior guard BJ Standley who had 16 points along with four assists and three rebounds. Seven of the 16 points came in the first game, after going 2-for-4 in that span.
The second Bronco with the most points was senior forward Justin Young who chipped in with nine points and four rebounds.
In the first half, right off the bat, the Broncos got on the board thanks to a jumper from senior guard William Christmas.
The Cougars then quickly answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to take the lead.
Moments later, Standley initiated a 4-0 run after he drove into the paint for a layup. As the game proceeded, both teams struggled to shoot the ball until junior guard Mason Dickerson made a layup to pull within one.
After an exchange of shots, the Broncos finally took the lead thanks to both good free throws from Standley. Seconds later, when the Broncos seemed to start pulling away, the Cougars pulled back and took the lead thanks to a dunk from Selom Mawugbe.
With four minutes left in the first half of the game, the Broncos took their largest lead of the night with four points after back-to-back shots. The first basket came from a layup made by junior guard Phoenix Shackelford followed by a 3-pointer from Standley.
Despite being down, the Cougars quickly answered with an 8-2 run to take the lead 28-26. Before the end of the half, Young drove into the paint and made a layup to tie the game, and was quickly followed by senior guard Nikhil Peters with a 3-pointer that saw the Broncos take the lead 31-28 going into halftime.
Coming into the second half, the Cougars came out red hot and went on a 14-0 run that saw them take their largest lead of the night by 11 points.
During the first five minutes of the second half, the Broncos struggled significantly and were not able to score. The first points for the Broncos in the second half came thanks to a jumper from Christmas.
Williams’ jumper would initiate a 15-5 run for the Broncos, which pulled them within one point from the Cougars with nine minutes left in the game. Despite the Broncos’ attempts, the Cougars quickly pulled away and took an 8-point lead.
With six minutes and six seconds left on the clock, the Broncos put together a strong 11-2 run that helped them take the lead 57-56 going into the final minutes of the game.
Minutes later both teams exchanged baskets, and with 29 seconds left, the Broncos made a layup to take a 1-point lead. The Cougars answered right away with a 3-pointer that led them to the win.
“I thought we defended well. In the beginning of the second half, we didn’t come out with enough energy when they went on that big run, and that was kind of the big difference,” senior guard/forward Riley Schaefer said. “Luckily, we were able to get back in the game but mental lapses like that was the difference tonight.”
On Saturday, the Broncos defeated the Seattle Pacific Falcons 64-58 to finish out the Sodexo Classic.
Schaefer ended the match with 19 points and an impressive five rebounds.
Christmas made his mark on the court with 16 points.
The win increased the Broncos’ record to 1-1 as they finished out their season opener in Seattle.
The Broncos will return to action Tuesday, Nov. 4 when they travel to Bellingham, Washington, to take on Western Washington.
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