Broncos lose title tilt in overtime

The Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team came close but that has to be little consolation now.

The unranked Broncos fell to No. 1 Findlay 56-53 in overtime in the Division II National championship game today at the MassMutual center in Springfield, Mass. The difference was a 3-pointer from the wing by Tyler Evans as time ran out. He was well defended but made a great shot so give him credit.

Coach Greg Kamansky’s team played with the poise and dignity it played with all season on the biggest stage possible. They were down and didn’t panic. They weren’t intimidated by a team with a lofty reputation and national ranking.

Few could have expected the Broncos to get that far. They probably didn’t expect it themselves. That is until they started string some wins together at the end of the regular season. Then they started to believe and the confidence grew with every game.

You don’t get that close that often so it hurts to lose even if you weren’t expected to be there, But the Broncos walked off the court with heads held high, as well they should have.

That closes the book on the storied career of Larry Gordon, one of four seniors on the team and one of only two that saw significant playing time. While it is never easy to replace an All-American, the Broncos will have something they didn’t have this season – a strong nucleus of returning players.

Austin Swift, Dwayne Fells, Robert Summers, Daher Nasser and the much-improved Tobias Jahn. They’ll also get back Donnelle Booker, who was out all season with a knee injury. There are plenty of pieces in place to make another run. The experience those players gained is something to build on.

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Broncos lose heart-breaker in overtime

By Jeff Thomas

 

Correspondent

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Oh, for a few more seconds on the clock.
The remarkable run of the Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team came to a sudden and shocking end Saturday afternoon at the MassMutual Center when senior guard Tyler Evans drained a fadeaway 3-pointer at buzzer in overtime to give the University of Findlay the NCAA Division II national championship.

Cal Poly Pomona fought back from a 14-point second-half deficit, only to go down 56-53 to Oilers, who concluded a perfect season at 36-0 and was ranked No. 1 wire-to-wire.

“We put ourselves in position to win the game, but tonight we didn’t do it and they did,” Cal Poly Pomona coach Greg Kamansky said. “We feel proud of the fact that we put ourselves in position and could have won it.”

The Broncos (25-8), who won 16 of their last 17 to get to this point and had traveled more than 10,000 miles in the NCAA tournament – with another 3,000 or so more to come Sunday – were the feel-good story of the tournament.

That storybook ending almost came to fruition, but a well-guarded Evans picked that point in time to make his only field goal of the afternoon.

“I think it was good defense but he hit a tough shot,” Broncos senior guard Walter Thompson said. “You can’t ask for any better defense out of Dahir (Nasser). It was good pressure and he had his hand in his face. He made a tough shot.”

The game was tied at 53-53 after senior All-American Larry Gordon hit a 15-foot jumper with 12.5 seconds left. There was a held-ball call under Cal Poly’s basket with 2.4 seconds left. Findlay’s Marcus Parker inbounded the ball from the baseline to Evans, who was already a step behind the 3-point arc.

Evans took a dribble back and to his left before taking the shot that swished through the basket 25 feet away and left Nasser on his knees and holding his head in disbelief.

“We were concerned with the inbounder getting the ball back for a quick three, so they got the ball to (Evans) and he kept backing up and backing up and throws a fadeaway three from God knows how many feet,” Kamansky said. “The guy hit a great shot, give him some credit. That’s part of the game of basketball. Win some, lose some.”

It was the second overtime win of the Elite Eight for Findlay, and just the fourth overtime championship game in Elite Eight history.

“I can’t express the feeling that we have winning this game the way it was won with that unbelievable last-second shot, the way we’ve won the last four of our games,” Findlay coach Ron Niekamp said. “It’s an incredible feeling and it’s also a feeling that someone up there is looking out for you when you win four like that.”

The game had the look of a rout for a while, the Oilers taking a 30-20 halftime lead and pushing that lead to as many as 14 with 16:25 left in the game.

“At that time I called timeout and was pretty fired up and said you’re not going down like this,” Kamansky said. “I just told our guys we’ve done it all year and this is not the way we were gonna go down, getting beat handily.

“We got a couple of nice plays and hit a couple of nice shots and next thing you know we got our confidence going and we knew we could play with these guys,” he added.

Gordon, who scored a game-high 17 points, scored on a reverse layup, followed by a Robert Summers 3-pointer. Tobias Jahn (14 points) scored at the rim and Summers made two foul shots. After Gordon scored on a drive to the basket, Jahn scored from the baseline to complete the 13-0 run and get the Broncos within one, 36-35.

After Bostic scored on a putback, Thompson hit a 3-pointer and the game was tied with 7:05 to play.

Both teams had opportunities to win in the closing minutes but neither could capitalize.
In overtime it was much of the same, the lead changing five times before Evans hit his heroic shot to end an incredible season for the Broncos.

“This will sting for a while but we’ll look back in a little bit and say what a great season this was for this team,” Kamansky said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of these guys. Digging in game after game after game. We’ve won a lot of these overtime games.

“This season I’ll take and there’s probably 300 coaches in Division II who would take this,” he added. “There’s only one coach that wouldn’t and that’s the coach of Findlay.”

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Broncos Colson honored

Sophomore Reyana Colson capped her second season at Cal Poly Pomona in style when she was named an Honorable Mention All-American, according to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Colson, a Compton native, was the leading scorer for the Broncos this past season with 16.8 points per game. She scored in double figures in each of her 25 games played for the Broncos, who finished 16-14 overall.

“This is a great honor for her and shows how far she has come in a short time,” Broncos coach Scott Davis said. “She’s the key to our success. It says a lot for her work ethic and means a great deal to our program. Reyana is the one that everyone has a game-plan for her. Teams plan around her ability.”

Colson finished second in scoring 16.8 points (overall games), sixth in rebounds, second in assists and tied for first in steals and a league-leading 17.1 points in only CCAA games. She had 9 double-doubles including a conference-best 11 assists in a game played at Humboldt State.

Colson was named to the WBCA State Farm Region 8 first team, Daktronics West Region first team and was a first-team All-CCAA selection. As a freshman, she was the conference’s Freshman of the Year and also a second-team selection.

Off the court, she was named to the 2009 CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District 8 first team.

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