By David Pendleton, Feb. 28, 2023
On Feb. 23, Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team fell short of a close comeback after being down 17 in the first half, losing 70-67 to the Stanislaus State Warriors.
The Broncos went into the game fighting for a playoff spot as the Warriors were hoping to end a five-game losing streak.
Head coach Greg Kamansky spoke about the ongoing lack of physicality from his team after being down early.
“When you come out timid, you end up playing timid,” said Kamansky. “It just all snowballed a little bit and it’s tough to turn it around, especially down 17 points.”
With a spark of energy, the Warriors came out fast and physical in the first half, passing the ball quickly to open players and making shots to take the lead.
The Broncos struggled to get the ball rolling early on with missed shots and rebounds, allowing the Warriors to take advantage.
The Broncos had late shot-clock situations, unable to develop plays which led the team to force the ball inside where the Warriors’ defense applied the pressure.
Within five and a half minutes, the Broncos were down 19-2 as they struggled to complete passes and travel down court. Warrior sophomore guard Baljot Sahi capitalized on the opportunity by making multiple 3-point shots.
Late into the first half, Bronco freshman guard Shyheim Parm scored nine points and secured three rebounds to keep CPP in the game.
The Broncos were within striking distance, being down 38-26 at the end of the first half.
Parm said that he believed his team could have lived up to its ability in the first half with a stronger mentality going into the game.
“It’s more of just a mindset,” said Parm. “Coming in we got to talk to each other, we got to give it our all every minute we’re out there.”
A more physical Bronco team came out in the second half with both freshman guard Bam Johnson and Parm making back-to-back layups.
The Warriors became less consistent with missed shots, and a tighter defense from CPP at the 3-point line allowed the Broncos to come within seven points at the 17:20 mark.
Johnson spoke to the Broncos’ performance in the second half, claiming once the team gets into a rhythm it always finds a way back.
“Based off our talent and our energy, when we’re all clicking together, we’re one of the best teams in the league,” said Johnson. “Getting out there on the court starting off the jump is the problem.”
The Broncos made their presence known early on in the second half, coming within four points at 42-38 with just over 15 minutes left. Stanislaus State kept responding as freshman guard Micah Boone scored a deep 3-point shot.
The Broncos found themselves coming close to tying the game just as the Warriors scored when they needed it most.
Broncos sophomore guard Chris Gayles Jr. stepped up late in the game by scoring 14 points, securing two rebounds and getting two steals to keep pressure against the Warriors.
With 53.2 seconds left in the game, the Broncos found themselves within three points of tying it up at 64-61. With a chance to tie, the Broncos missed their shot, and the Warriors secured the possession.
The Broncos tried to stay in the game by causing a couple of forced fouls, but the Warriors were able to hit their free throws, creating just enough distance to win 70-67.
Looking forward to the last game of the season against Chico State, Kamansky urged his team to show more energy throughout the entire game and finish the season strong.
Johnson emphasized the importance of finishing with a win to have any chance of making it to the playoffs.
“The next game is a mandatory win,” said Johnson. “No more games, no more laughter. We need to figure this out so we can advance and keep the season going.”
On Saturday, Feb. 25, the Broncos ended the season with a record of 12-14, narrowly losing to Chico State 59-58.
Feature image by Daniel Tapia
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