CPP men’s basketball drops CCAA tournament opener to CSU San Marcos

By Nick Vasquez, Mar. 8, 2022

Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball lost their first-round matchup of the CCAA tournament to CSU San Marcos in Arcata, California on March 3. The 76-65 loss moves the Broncos’ record to 13-9 on the season, and their status for the NCAA regional tournament is at risk.

CPP came in as the sixth seed in the tournament; San Marcos was the third seed. Guard BJ Standley, after missing a lot of the season due to an injury, led the team in scoring with 16 points. Guard Christopher Mitchell followed with 14 points and guards Phoenix Shackelford and Jaden Winfield both had 12.

Head coach Greg Kamansky reflected on the game and gave some perspective on why even after a loss, this game was a positive learning experience for his young team going forward.

“I am proud of our guys; they fought back after a tough start to the game,” said Kamansky. “It’s great for them to get the experience, but we still need to win games. The intensity level is significantly higher in these types of situations. Every play counts, and mistakes are amplified. They have to have confidence that they can play through some of those things.”

CSU San Marcos took control of the game early by starting the game off with a 12-4 run in the first six minutes. After a Broncos timeout, CPP followed with an 8-2 run to make the score 14-12 in favor of CSU San Marcos. The Cougars followed with a 12-3 run to take a nine point lead of their own midway through the first half.

The teams traded buckets for the ensuing minutes after that, and the Cougars pushed the lead to a game-high of 12 points with just over seven minutes left in the first half. Going into halftime, the score was 42-35 in favor of CSU San Marcos.

Forward Dane Erikstrup commented on the Broncos’ sluggish start to the first half. “Going into it, I thought we were all ready, but we ended up coming out a bit slow and we were just trying to fight back the whole game,” said Erikstrup. “I thought if we came out a little more intense, it would have been a different turn of events for us.”

Despite never leading in the first half, the Broncos battled in the second half to make this a close game. The second half started off with stifling defense by both squads as the teams went scoreless through the first minute-plus of action. After a pair of two-pointers by Erikstrup and Winfield, the Broncos cut the lead to three.

The defensive intensity over the ensuing four minutes of play stood out as the score was 46-42 in favor of CSU San Marcos for a three-minute stretch before guard Caleb Nelson dunked the ball in transition to make it a 46-44 ballgame. The Broncos proceeded to take their first lead of the game with just under 10 minutes left in the game on the strength of two straight layups by Standley. This led to seven lead changes in the next two minutes.

The Cougars took the lead with just over five minutes left to play and never looked back, as they closed the game on a 16-4 run.

The Broncos ball movement and scoring distribution stood out throughout the match. CPP had four players score double-digit points and had 15 assists on 27 made shots. Shackelford commented on the team’s shot distribution before the game.

“We’re a very deep team considering we have a lot of young guys,” said Shackelford. “Our scoring is very spread out, and we’re a very unselfish team. Whoever has the hot hand, we try to ride them until the wheels fall off.”

Despite the loss, the Broncos will be playing in the regional tournament. The qualifications are based on the regional rankings and the last polls had CPP ranked as seventh in the region. The Broncos will face CSU San Bernardino, ranked second, on March 11 for the first round of playoffs.

Featured image courtesy of CPP Athletics.

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