Men’s basketball falls short in close affair against Sonoma State

By Cesar Rivas, Feb. 13, 2024

After starting off the two-game road trip with a win, Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball looked to continue their run of form against the Sonoma State Seawolves Feb. 3. The game was back-and-forth and came down to the wire, ultimately resulting in a Broncos loss with a final score of 55-53.

The Broncos’ two-game win streak put them at 6-8 in conference play while the Seawolves looked to conclude a four-game losing streak.

“We didn’t get many calls our way unfortunately, but that’s not an excuse,” said Broncos head coach Greg Kamansky. “Yeah, it was an ugly game obviously, they played really physical.”

No team was able to connect on their first possessions of the game. The first basket came from a 3-pointer from Sonoma State guard Cameron Barry.

The Broncos responded with back-to-back threes from forward Jordan Carpenter and guard Bam Johnson, bringing the score to 6-3 with 17 minutes remaining in the half.

A combination of trading baskets and solid defense allowed the game to swing to both sides throughout the opening nine minutes of the half.

The Seawolves played zone defense throughout the match, with some expectations when forward Brandon Porter and Johnson were on the floor, where they were guarded man-to-man.

Porter is the Broncos leading scorer this season, averaging 13.8 points per game, but against the Seawolves, Porter went 1-4 from the field and had three points in the first half.

“Bam and BP are our top scores so the more we play the more teams are going to realize that,” said guard Malachi Murrell. “Since everyone had been playing well, I feel that Sonoma knew that if they ran a regular defense it was going to be a tougher night.”

Things got a little chippy with eight minutes left in the half as Seawolves guard Nick Medeiros took a hard foul. Some pushing and shoving occurred, resulting in technical fouls to Broncos Murrell and guard Chris Gayles Jr. and an ejection to Seawolves forward Terence Haywood.

Broncos forward Micheal Ofoegbu found himself shooting from the charity stripe, shooting 5-8 and recording three rebounds while Murrell helped the Broncos offense coming off the bench with seven points.

Both teams shot 9-26 from the field, however, the Broncos outscored the Seawolves from behind the arc shooting 5-14 giving them a 30-24 lead at the half.

CPP extended its lead at the start of the second half due to an Ofoegbu layup, putting the Broncos ahead by eight.

The Seawolves didn’t concede, trading baskets and executing three consecutive defensive stops to eventually tie the game at 36.

However, their comeback didn’t last long thanks to back-to-back points in the paint from guard Jaden Winfield, a layup by forward Kodey Weary and another fastbreak bucket by Winfield to give the Broncos an eight-point lead with eight and a half left to play.

Just when the Broncos were building momentum off their lead, the Seawolves capitalized off missed opportunities and tied the game again at 45 with six minutes left on the clock.

“Coming out of halftime I feel like we came out with energy and increased the lead a little more, and after a timeout, I think the energy just dropped,” said Murrell. “They were picking up their energy while ours was dropping, which gave them the opportunity to come back.”

After trading baskets for the final minutes, Sonoma State guard Andrew Henderson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, giving the Seawolves a three-point lead with 30 seconds remaining.

Ultimately the Broncos couldn’t connect on the game-tying shot and fell to Sonoma State with a final score of 55-53, bringing the Broncos to a 6-9 conference record.

“We had a great opportunity at the end of the game, we make that and send it to overtime then who knows what happens, but the bottom line is that we weren’t good enough tonight,” said Kamansky. “I told them just keep your head up, we are one or two plays away from winning five out of our last six, and if we play well, we could beat anyone.”

Following the narrow loss to the Seawolves, CPP returned home for a match against Chico State. After an 87-81 loss to the Wildcats, the Broncos bounced back with a 61-55 win over Cal Poly Humboldt to bring their record to 8-13 thus far this season. CPP will hit the road again this Thursday, Feb. 15, for a match against the Cal State East Bay Pioneers.

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

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