The Broncos’ four-game winning streak was snapped Thursday night on the road after a 69-57 loss to the No. 5 UC San Diego Tritons. The team then turned around and defeated the Cal State San Marcos Cougars in a close 71-70 overtime matchup.
“Two different halves tonight – first half we came out and they kind of punched us in the jaw a little bit,” head coach Greg Kamansky said. “(The Tritons) played really well and we didn’t respond, and second half we got more physical. Offensively we got the ball inside a lot more, so that was the game plan from the beginning, but we weren’t able to do it in the first half and second half we were. We were down pretty big numbers and we tried to get back in the game, but we couldn’t just get over the hump.”
Prior to Thursday’s loss, the Broncos managed to only lose one game over winter break and piled on five more wins to their record.
After the loss, the Broncos’ overall record changed to 12-4 and 8-3 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association conference.
Senior guard William Christmas was one of two Broncos with double figures in scoring. He had 18 points along with six assists and three rebounds.
“It was a tough loss. There are things that can be taken away from the game, but there is still a lot of season left, so all we can do is learn from the loss and try and move past it,” Christmas said. “I think throughout the entire game I could have rebounded the ball a little bit better, been a little more aggressive, been more of a leader on the defensive end and I could have shot the ball better from the outside. Those are all things I just have to carry … into the next game and improve on.”
In the first half, the Broncos got on the board with easy layups in the paint. Despite the Broncos’ early baskets, the Tritons’ efficiency from the 3-point line was crucial as it gave them an early five-point lead.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, the Tritons imposed their dominance with a strong 14-2 run that gave them a 17-point lead. Moments later, the Broncos attempted a comeback with back-to-back layups, but the Tritons quickly turned down their attempt with three consecutive shots that extended their lead to 41-21 going into the half.
“I don’t think I played well tonight. I wasn’t aggressive enough inside,” senior forward Riley Schaefer said. “I made a few turnovers; I didn’t rebound the ball well; I only had two rebounds. So I think I could have given a lot more and it’s really frustrating especially in a game like tonight’s that means so much, you always want to give it everything.”
Coming into the second half, the Tritons continued dominating and in the first four minutes went on a 6-2 run. Two minutes later, senior guard Nikhil Peters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, which was the start of an 11-0 run that helped the Broncos cut down the Tritons’ lead to 12 points.
As the clock was winding down, the Tritons’ offense once again showed up, and with multiple shots, they denied the Broncos’ comeback and were able to take the win.
On Saturday, the Broncos headed to San Marcos to take on the Cougars in a neck-to-neck battle before beating them out in overtime, 71-70.
Christmas racked up a total of 19 points for the Broncos. Junior guard BJ Standley was right behind him with 15.
Schaefer made a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left in overtime to land the Broncos’ their victory.
The Broncos return to action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 when the team travels to San Bernardino to take on the Coyotes.