Oliver’s criticism of big man works

Cal State San Bernardino coach Jeff Oliver seems to know what buttons to push with his players. That was more than evident this week when the Coyotes were at a crossroads of sorts.

The team was picked to win the CCAA and was nationally ranked at one point but had done little to live up to that billing. Even more frustrating has been its tendency to play well against the better teams but totally tank against mediocre ones. They started the weekend 9-7.

After last Friday’s game, a loss to San Francisco State, Oliver blasted 6-7 junior Brandon Brown in the media. Calling him a “terrible defensive player.” He benched Brown and two others for Saturday’s game which the Coyotes ended up winning.

Then on Tuesday another publication printed a story on Brown which was focused on his failure to live up to his billing. Brown was not happy, even marching into Oliver’s office to ask why he trashed him to the media.

Oliver calmly asked him what part of the article or statements attributed to him did he not agree with. The two talked things out and went back to practice.

Then on Friday Brown delivered perhaps his best game when it counted most. He scored 16, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked two shots as the Coyotes trounced a talented Dominguez Hills squad that was ranked No. 2 in the West Region and came in leading the CCAA.

The incident definitely seemed to light a fire under him. While such criticism would not be appropriate of a high school player, it isn’t out of line when dealing with college-age athletes who are adults.

Brown was more conciliatory in a post-game interview and just chuckled when asked about the verbal beatdown he received a week earlier.

Oliver also tried to keep Brown motivated by starting Jordan Richard, a freshman out of Los Osos. Brown came off the bench about six minutes into the first half.

Tonight the Coyotes host Cal State L.A., another one of those mediocre teams they should handle.

Hopefully the Coyotes have learned and bring their “A” game. Because Friday’s performance was fun to watch.

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Broncos rally past visiting Eagles

Cal Poly Pomona didn’t let a 12-point deficit get it down Friday night in its game against Cal State L.A. in California Collegiate Athletic women’s basketball.

                And despite trailing by 11 points on three separate occasions in the second half, the Broncos battled back and earned a 57-50 victory at Kellogg Gymnasium.

                Sophomore Reyana Colson (Compton) led the Broncos with a game-high 20 points and teammate Stephisha Walton (Vallejo) scored 15 points with 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. The double-digit night from Colson was her 15th straight after missing the first five games to injury.

                Cal Poly Pomona, ranked sixth in the initial NCAA Division II West Region poll, improved to 12-8 overall and 8-3 in the CCAA. Cal State L.A. dropped to 2-16, 1-10.

                Cal Poly Pomona trailed throughout much of the game and went into halftime down, 34-26. The Broncos fired just 29 percent from the floor and struggled to create any momentum in the opening 20 minutes.

                But CPP got things turned around after it trailed by 11, 42-31 with 14:11 remaining. Freshman Kaitlin Derby (Petaluma) drained a 3-pointer with 13:14 remaining and that triggered a 13-0 run that put CPP ahead 44-42 with 7:07 left.

                After Derby’s 3, Colson hit a three-point play of her own and Walton later added a pair of free throws. Walton added a layup and reserve Emily Nichols (Riverside) fired a 3-pointer and CPP fought its way ahead for the first time.

                CSULA scored four straight points, but it would be its last lead at 46-44 with 6:15 left.

                Walton answered right back with a three-point play. She drove inside, scored a layup and drew the foul. She hit the free throw and CPP led 47-46 and never looked back.

                The Broncos shot just 30.6 percent from the floor (19-of-62), but outshot CSULA 17-4 at the free-throw line.

                CSULA’s Shatori Dearman led her team with 12 points and six rebounds. The Golden Eagles went to the free-throw line just once in the final 20 minutes.

                The Broncos play host to Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.


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Dominguez women rout Coyotes

Cal State Dominguez Hills retained its hold on fourth place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association women’s basketball standings Friday night with a 62-52 victory over Cal State San Bernardino in Coussoulis Arena.
            Neka Mixon, the CCAA player of the week, led the Toros to their 12th win of the season with a double-double – 18 points and 13 rebounds. She also had three steals and two assists in 27 minutes of play.

            Brittney Blankenship had 12 points and five assists for the Toros, ranked No. 5 in the first NCAA West Region poll. The Toros are now 12-6 overall and 7-4 in the CCAA.

            The Coyotes suffered their sixth straight conference defeat and are now 7-10 overall and 5-6 in the CCAA. Krystal Urzua led the Coyotes with 20 points, two assists and two steals. Urzua hit four of 11 shots from three-point range. Shannon Gholar contributed 11 points.

            CSUSB will host Cal State L.A. at 8 p.m. on Saturday night while the Toros are at Cal Poly Pomona for a 5:30 p.m. start.

            Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State San Bernardino were locked in a close game in the first 10 minutes with the Toros leading 15-13 after a layup by Gholar. The Toros then went on a 12-0 run capped by Ashley Johnson’s jumper with 5:37 left in the half to lead 27-15 and took a 38-25 advantage to the locker room at intermission.

            In the second half, the Toros led by as much as 18 points at 48-30 with 14:13 left on a layup by Blankenship. The Coyotes then made a run, closing to within eight points at 60-52 with 2:15 left on a free throw by junior Aubrey Duran.  Blankenship sank a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left to salt the game away.

            The Toros outscored the Coyotes 30-12 in the paint and outrebounded CSUSB 41-28 but were guilty of 19 turnovers to just 15 for the Coyotes. CSUDH shot 54 percent in the first half (15 of 28) and 44 percent for the game (25-56).

            The Coyotes shot just 33 percent (18 for 54) and made just seven of 27 three-point attempts (26 percent).

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