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Broncos drop first NCAA tournament game to CSU San Bernardino despite a big first half

By Nick Vazquez and Daniel Tapia, Mar. 15, 2022

On March. 12, The Broncos headed out to Cal State San Bernardino to open the first round of NCAA division two playoffs inside Coussoulis Arena. After losing in the first round of the CCAA tournament against CSU San Marcos and not knowing if they were going to be in the playoffs, their name was called for selection on Sunday.

No. 7 seed, Cal Poly Pomona, would have to face off against host No. 2 seed, Cal State San Bernardino. In their first meeting, CSU San Bernardino won 83-62. However, the Broncos have grown a lot as a team since their Nov. 27 matchup, this time coming up 3 point short in 72-69 loss.

Forward Tavian Henderson finishes strong to give the Broncos an early spark.

The Broncos came out the first half firing on all cylinders. They were down 8-5 five minutes into the game, but after a few defensive stops, the Broncos took their first lead of the game 9-8 from a Chris Gayles Jr. jumper. CPP held the lead for the entire rest of the first half and even led by as many as 25 at one point.

Cal State San Bernardino head coach Andrew Newman had high praise for the Broncos’ performance.

“Pomona really pounced on us; they had a great game plan,” said Newman. “Credit to them. They came out and punched us right in the face. We weren’t ready for that.”

Senior guard BJ Standley led the team in scoring with 16 points, and senior guard Phoenix Shackelford followed with 15 of his own. The team was left without forward and CCAA Freshman of the Year Dane Erikstrup, who suffered a knee injury early in the first half.

Despite jumping to a 25-point lead after a four-point play by Standley, the Coyotes went on a 12-2 run to end the half to cut the lead to 15.

The teams traded buckets for the first few minutes of the second half, as the Broncos maintained a 14-point lead with 16:35 remaining. However, CSU San Bernardino went on an 18-3 run to take the lead with just over eight minutes remaining. As head coach Greg Kamansky pointed out, that ended up being the turning point in the game.

The Broncos traded buckets with the Coyotes and went toe-to-toe with their high-powered offense for the ensuing couple of minutes and even got out to a six-point lead with six minutes remaining.  However, the Coyotes ended the game on a 14-5 run to close out the Broncos.

Kamansky spoke about his team’s effort in their last game of the season.

“Obviously, it was a tough one; I thought we played about as good as we have all year today,” said Kamansky. “San Bernardino is really talented, and we scared the daylights out of them. We just got tired and could not finish in the end. Once we gave up the lead, it was tough.”

Despite the loss, CPP showed vast improvement throughout the season and has a lot to look forward to. Ten players will be returning next season and will look to build on the chemistry they have built this season.

“We showed a lot of courage tonight as a team, and it was a tough loss,” said Kamansky. “I’m just sad for my seniors.”

Featured image by Daniel Tapia.

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