Men’s basketball snags second seed in playoffs

The men’s basketball team achieved two outstanding home victories to secure the second seed spot for the start of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) tournament.

On Thursday, the Broncos cascaded to victory against the Cal State East Bay Pioneers in their last regular season matchup. The Broncos defeated the Pioneers, 67-54, led by junior guard BJ Standley who shot a game high of 18 points.

Standley had the fans at Kellogg Arena on their feet as he fired up shots beyond the arc, with an outstanding 6-for-8 run.

Within the first minutes of the game, each team split two 3-pointers, kicking off what would appear to be a thrilling match-up.

Junior guard/forward Tavian Henderson dunked over the Pioneers as the crowd roared full of cheers. 

Henderson’s slam dunks have been a crowd pleaser throughout the season, and this game was no different for him.

The first half ended with the Broncos in the lead, 26-22.

After a strong first half, the Broncos picked up the pace right away as top scorer, senior guard William Christmas, shot a 3-pointer with an assist from senior guard Riley Schaefer.

As shots were full of nothing but net for the Broncos, the Pioneers’ frustration struck quickly as a timeout was called just 1:05 minutes into the second half as the Broncos were up 32-22.

With a new game plan, the Pioneers went on to have a 13-0 run, but senior guard Nikhil Peters put it to a stop as he fired up a corner three that surged the Broncos’ momentum back.

Henderson’s run became unstoppable as he became the second top scorer of the night with 11 points.

Junior guard Phoenix Shackelford also had a superb run as he split nine points along with Schaefer for the night.

With Thursday night’s victory on their hands, the Broncos had another face-off on Saturday at Kellogg Arena for senior night.

The Broncos defeated the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters 78-55, to secure the second seed spot in the CCAA tournament.

As Kellogg Arena was stormed by friends and family for senior night, the Broncos were ready to put on a show.

Christmas kicked off the first minutes with four points to set the tone for the match-up.

“I just thought we played excellent defense tonight,” Christmas said. “We forced a lot of turnovers in our full court trap. We were able to communicate and talk on defense and contest a lot of shots. I just thought we did a phenomenal job on defense, which held them to a low-scoring total.”

The men’s basketball team ended conference with a record of 17-5. (Pictured is No. 23 Justin Young, right.) (Nouk Keovyphone | The Poly Post)

As the seniors showcased what they were made of throughout the night, highlights from the game included a slam dunk from senior forward Justin Young as his friends and family were on their feet while cheering and holding posters of Young.

“We just had an overall solid performance, everybody just came out and played well,” Young said. “There was a lot of energy because it was senior night and there were a lot of people in the stands. This is one of our last times playing at home, especially as seniors, and we wanted to go out with a bang and try secure a spot in the national tournament.”

Another highlight was Peters’ first 3-pointer of the night that increased the Broncos to 38-22 in the first half. 

The Broncos never looked back after that, and never let the lead go under 12 points against the Otters.

Schaefer’s 3-pointer beat the buzzer as the Broncos left the first half ahead, 44-30.

With full advantage on the Broncos’ side, the show kept getting better.

The Broncos’ defense was in full effect, forcing 23 turnovers for the Otters as the Broncos only came out with nine for the night.

At the 1:29 minute mark in the second half, head coach Greg Kamansky honored the seniors by substituting the quartet, allowing them to enjoy the last minute of the blowout. The Broncos came out victorious, with a final score of 78-55.

“We put ourselves in a great position,” Kamansky said. “Our goal was just to play hard and as a coach, my goal is to always win on senior night for my seniors, so, mission accomplished.”

The Broncos ended with a 21-6 overall record and 17-5 in the CCAA.

The men’s basketball team has one more home game remaining to begin its postseason run. 

The Broncos will go up against the seventh-seeded Cal State Dominguez Hills, as their fight to the championship begins. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Kellogg Arena on Wednesday.

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