By Michelle Gardner
SAN BERNARDINO – Maybe Cal State San Bernardino coach Jeff Oliver
should bench players more often.
One game after sitting out three athletes, two of them starters,
the Coyotes responded with one of their best outings of the season
and they needed it, turning back CCAA frontrunner Cal State Dominguez
Hills 66-51 Friday at Coussoulis Arena.
The win boosted the Coyotes (10-7, 8-3) into a tie for first place
with the Toros (14-4, 8-3) as well as UC San Diego and Humboldt
What a difference a couple of months make. The last time the teams
played Dominguez won by 20.
Junior big man Brandon Brown, one of those benched, delivered his
best game in awhile with 16 points but he was an even bigger factor
on the boards with 13 rebounds and two blocks.
“We wanted to make a statement,” Brown said. “There was that
last game I didn’t play and I felt like I had to make up for it. ”
Oliver publicly criticized Brown last week but was more than
complimentary after the most recent outing.
“He was tremendous,” Oliver said. “We knew that’s the way he
could play and we were waiting to see it. He did it against a great
team, one that came in leading the conference in scoring.”
The Coyotes have been a slow starting team but bucked that trend
this time. The first half was tied at 14 with 8:55 left but the
Coyotes ended it with a 13-1 run, highlighted by back-to-back
3-pointers by Devin Montgomery and Lawrence Tyson.
The Toros started the second half with a 12-2 run, getting within
two points at 30-28 on a driving layup by Tim McGrath.
But the Coyotes tallied the next 10, working the ball in the paint
for all those points. A bucket by Brown made it 40-31 with 12:33 to
go and the Coyotes never looked back. A driving layup by DuBois
Williams seconds later made it 42-31 and the visitors were never
within single digits again.
Cal State led by as many as 18 at 62-3 with 4:53 left on another
bucket by Brown.
The Coyotes shot 47.2 percent from the field and outrebounded the
Toros 35-28. Joining Brown in double figures were Montgomery with 16
and Tyson with 12. Williams had nine points, four rebouds, four
assists, two steals and two blocks.
Ontario High School product Jerrell Smith has 13 points and five
rebounds to lead Dominguez.
“This was do or die for us,” said Montgomery, another of the
players that came back afer a benching. “Our backs were to the wall.
We have to keep playing like this.”
The Coyotes will host Cal State Los Angeles at 5:30 tonight. Th
game is being played before the women’s game tonight only, to
accommodate national television (CBS College Sports Channel).