By Michelle Gardner
POMONA – The Cal Poly Pomona Broncos were hoping to send their
four seniors off in grand fashion. They did just that upending
visiting Humboldt State 68-59 Saturday at Kellogg Gymnasium.
It was the Broncos eighth straight win and gave coach Greg
Kamansky his 100th on his home floor in 118 tries. It also kept Cal
Poly tied for second in the CCAA with Cal State San Bernardino, one
game behind Dominguez Hills.
“It was ugly but effective,” Kamansky said. “We’ll take it. It
was pretty physical and we got a lot of guys banged up but we might
as well learn how to play like that because when you get to the
playoffs they tend to let things go.”
The contest pitted two top-notch CCAA foes battling for position
in the West Region poll which determines the eight postseason
qualifiers. The Broncos (17-6, 13-5) started the week fourth while
the Lumberjacks (19-9, 12-6) were sixth so the win is big for Cal
Poly’s postseason hopes.
“It was our last game against a ranked foe and that mean a lot,”
Kamansky added. “We still have to go on the road for the last two
but winning this puts us in good shape if we can take care of
business the last weekend.”
Junior wing Austin Swift scored a team-high 16 points and snagged
eight rebounds. Walter Thompson, one of four seniors playing their
last home game, added 15 points, including a big 3-pointer late in
the game. Larry Gordon was held to nine but grabbed his usual 11
rebounds and had three steals.
The pivotal run came with the Broncos nursing a 43-41 lead and 7:49
to go. Cal Poly tallied the next six points, aided by two Humboldt
turnovers. A putback by Gordon off a miss by Swift made it 49-41.
Again the Lumberjacks came back via the long ball with a trey by
Zac Teidman getting the visitors closer at 49-44 with 4:26 to play.
But the Broncos answered with another, this one giving them
breathing room for good. Dwayne Fells scored on a putback and the
Broncos got a chance to add to their lead when the Lumberjacks Kyle
Baxter missed two free throws.
Seconds later Thompson drained a 3-pointer with 2:43 left to put
the Broncos up 54-44. The home team was never really threatened again.
The Broncos shot 45.2 percent and finished the game off at the
free-throw line. They made 27 of 34 tries for the game, many of those
coming late with Humboldt trying to stop the clock.
The Broncos got off to a quick start and led 12-2 five minutes
into the game. But the Lumberjacks struck back via the long ball
getting three 3-pointers in the span of 70 seconds, two of them by
Kevin Atkins, getting with one at 12-11.
The first half was later tied at 26 with 4:25 to go but the
Lumberjacks reeled off the last five points of the half and led 31-26
at the break.
The Lumberjacks tallied 19 turnovers, one night after totaling 23
in an overtime loss at Cal State San Bernardino.
The Broncos finish the season on the road, traveling to San
Francisco State on Thursday and Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday.