By Hector Amezquita and Jajuan Brown
The men’s basketball team’s four-game winning streak came to an end Thursday night after an 86-82 loss to the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros. Two days later, the Broncos got back on track and defeated the Cal State L.A. Golden Eagles, outscoring them 72-65.
The Broncos currently sit in second place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, with a 19-6 overall record and 15-5 in conference play.
On Thursday night, senior guard William Christmas was outstanding for the Broncos as he dropped 30 points along with six rebounds.
Despite having a slow start, Christmas turned on the jets in the second half and finished almost perfectly from the 3-point line as he went 5-for-7.
“I only had five points in the first half, so I kind of started off slow, and I just try to do my best to keep our team in the game to give ourselves a chance to win,” Christmas said. “We came out slow, we came into the game a little bit too cocky, thinking we were going to beat them the same way we did the first game.
“Given the way that they played, they played one of their better games of the season, we probably shouldn’t have even been in the game, but I think just because we are a much more talented team and better team overall, we were able to keep ourselves in the game just off of that.”
Early in the first half, the Broncos’ weakness in the paint was evident and the Toros took advantage of that, scoring their first 10 points inside.
With the team down by five early on, Christmas’s free throws pulled the Broncos within three points of the Toros. Junior guard Phoenix Shackelford then tied the game after hitting a 3-pointer.
As the minutes transpired, both teams struggled to make shots until a Toros player stole the ball and quickly drove up the court to assist a teammate for a dunk. The Broncos answered and leveled the match thanks to a layup from senior forward Justin Young.
During the final four minutes of the half, things started to get ugly for the Broncos as the Toros took a five-point lead, but senior forward Riley Schaefer was able to knock down a series of shots to pull the Broncos within one point.
“I could have rebounded better, defended better and really just help my team get more stops in key moments of the game,” Schaefer said. “We gave up too much penetration, we weren’t standing in front of anyone, they competed harder on the glass than us, we didn’t defend well tonight and overall didn’t lock in on our scout.”
At the start of the second half, both teams came out firing and knocked down five 3-point shots combined. Midway through the half, the Toros’ sharp shooting paid dividends and helped them take an 11-point lead.
Despite the deficit, the Broncos continued fighting, and with 10 seconds on the clock, Christmas hit a 3-pointer that leveled the game, sending it into overtime.
In overtime, the Broncos were not able to overcome the Toros’ hard play, and suffered their fifth conference loss.
The Broncos traveled to Cal State L.A. two days later, where Christmas was once again the lead scorer, ending things with a 58.3 field goal percentage.
Most of the team’s points came from inside the paint, pumping out an overall of 30 points. Outside of points, the team also put on a display of rebounding prowess, grasping a total of 35 (20 defensive, 15 offensive).
The Broncos return home to face the Cal State East Bay Pioneers at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
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