Cal State men upend Monterey

Clutch free-throw shooting and some key shots from long distance made
the difference as the Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball team
turned back Cal State Monterey Bay 85-77 Thursday at the Kelp Bed.

The win keeps the Coyotes (16-9, 14-5) tied with Cal Poly Pomona one
game behind Cal State Dominguez Hills with one game left in the
regular season.

Michael Frazier came off the bench with a carer-high 27 points,
including an impressive 7-for-9 showing from long distance. Brandon
Brown added 24 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Devin
Montgomery also came up big with 14 points and eight assists.

Frazier’s seventh 3-pointer of the night came with 3:21 left and gave
the Coyotes a 76-75 lead. They were up 79-77 when Brown hit a jumper
to give the visitors an 81-77 lead wth 1:47 to play.

Both teams missed shots their next possession. The Coyotes put the
game away at the free-throw line where they have had trouble in the
last four games.

The Otters’ Steve Monreal shot an air ball on a
3-pointer and the Coyotes grabbed the rebound. Lawrence Tyson made a
pair of free throws and Tim Denson sealed the victory with a pair
seconds later.

The Coyotes ended up going 21-for-22 from the line. They shot 50
percent from the field (27-for-54).

Cal State’s Montgomery earns weekly accolade

Cal State San Bernardino guard Devin Montgomery has been named Wilson California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of February 16-22.

Montgomery, a 6-foot senior from Los Angeles, Calif., played a key role in helping the Coyotes to a pair of victories that enabled them to stay within one game of the CCAA lead heading into the final week of the season. The CSUSB senior averaged 27.0 points and 4.5 assists as Cal State San Bernardino posted wins over Humboldt State and Sonoma State.

In Friday’s 86-84 overtime victory over Humboldt State, Montgomery scored 25 points, collected three assists and a steal in 43 minutes. He scored the Coyotes last six points of the game, making four free throws and scoring on lay-up following a steal.

Montgomery came back on Saturday to tally a career-high 29 points, including 21 in the second half, and totaled five assists in a 92-83 come-from-behind victory over Sonoma State.

Cal State San Bernardino concludes the regular season this week with road contests at Humboldt State and Sonoma State on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Wilson CCAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week:
Nov. 17-23: Matt Ibewiro (Cal State Stanislaus);

Nov. 24-30: Andy Bocian (Chico State);

Dec. 1-7: Alex Thomas (San Francisco State);

Dec. 8-14: Robert Hayes (San Francisco State);

Dec. 15-21: Larry Gordon (Cal Poly Pomona);

Dec. 29 – Jan. 3: Brandon Brown (Cal State San Bernardino);

Jan. 4-11: Joe Mitchell (Cal State Monterey Bay);

Jan. 12-18: Austin Swift (Cal Poly Pomona);

Jan. 19-25: Jerrell Smith (Cal State Dominguez Hills);

Jan. 26-Feb. 1: Brandon Brown (Cal State San Bernardino);

Feb. 2-8: Brandon Brown (Cal State San Bernardino);

Feb. 9-15: Michael Hernandez (Cal State Dominguez Hills);

Feb. 16-22: Devin Montgomery (Cal State San Bernardino).

Broncos upend Humboldt State

By Michelle Gardner
Staff Writer

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.

Coyotes hold off Humboldt in overtime

By Michelle Gardner
Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO – This season nothing has come easy for the Cal
State San Bernardino men’s basketball team. So it probably isn’t
surprising that the Coyotes lost a nine-point lead late and needed
overtime before prevailing 86-84 over visiting Humboldt State Friday
at Coussoulis Arena.

The Coyotes (14-9, 12-5) came in desperate for a win after losing
its last two games and falling out of the West Region poll. The win
move puts the Coyotes in second place in the CCAA with three games to
go but they still have to get back into the regional rankings.

“We were desperate and we’re still desperate,” Coyotes coach Jeff
Oliver said. “It’s still the little things. If we make a free throw
it doesn’t come down to that.”

The Coyotes led 86-81 with just 20 seconds left but that lead was
not safe. The Jacks (19-8, 12-5) got a 3-pointer from Zac Tiedman
with seven second left to draw closer 86-84. Brown was then fouled
immediately and he missed both free throws, giving the Jacks life
because they got the loose ball.

The visitors rushed up court and got the ball into the hands of
Kyle Baxter who drove the lane and laid it in as time expired. But
the game-tying basket was waved off as Baxter was called for charging.

The Coyotes went 24-for-43 at the line, their third straight
sub-par showing from there. They missed several other tries late that
prevented them from putting the game away.

Brown, who scored 29 points but went only 5 for 13 from the
stripe, also missed two with the Coyotes up 83-77 in overtime as
well as two in regulation with the game even at 69 and a minute left.

The Coyotes went ahead 72-69 as Lawrence Tyson drained a
3-pointer from the corner with 30 seconds left. But that lead too was
shortlived as the Lumberjacks came back with Ernie Spada countering
with a trey over the outstretched arms of Tim Denson to even the
score again, this time at 72 with 12 seconds remaining.

“We didn’t make it a point of telling them to no three’s,”
Oliver said of the play. “We were assuming they knew it but it was
bad to give that up.”

The Coyotes had the last shot but couldn’t capitalize as Denson
turned the ball over without the home team getting a shot off,
returning possession to the Jacks with five seconds to play. Spada
again went for the last shot but his shot was short and off the front
of the rim, sending the game into overtime.

Brown also had 12 rebounds, four steals, two blocks and two
assists. Devin Montgomery added 25, four off his season-high. Denson
collected six assists as the Coyotes shot 45.2 percent from the field.

Kevin Atkins had a team-high 23 for Humboldt, ranked sixth in the
West Region. Tiedman added 18 and Spada 13. The Jacks shpot 44.8
percent from the field buit were a sparkling 23 of 27 from the line.

“They did a great job in the first half and we didn’t match their energy or intensity,” Oliver said.

The Coyotes will play their last home game of the regular season at
7:30 tonight against Sonoma State (11-13, 7-10). They finish with
road games at San Francisco State and Monterey Bay.

NCAA alters Division II regional playoff structure

Division II West Regional basketball teams might not be headed to Hawaii or Alaska for regional play after all. At least not all of them.

Monday the NCAA announced a change in its format for all Division II postseason tournaments, effective immediately.

If all seven non-host schools would be required to fly to the host site, the eight-team regionals would be broken up into two four-team tournaments at separate sites.

That is likely to happen in basketball because Brigham Young-Hawaii (16-1) is ranked first in the West Region on the men’s side while Alaska-Anchorage (22-1) is seeded first among the womens’ teams.

Both would probably have to lose multiple times to not be awarded top seeds. The Seasiders are 8-0 in region with Cal State Dominguez Hills a distant second at 13-4.
The gap is a little smaller on the women’s side with the Seawolves 11-0 in region and No. 2 UC San Diego 16-1.

The season isn’t quite over, but if it were to end today, those teams would be the only ones from their respective states to qualify, meaning the new rule would go into play immediately.
The change didn’t go over well with some coaches, most noteably Cal State San Bernardino men’s coach Jeff Oliver.

The Coyotes (13-7, 11-3) are No. 10 but should move up to eighth when the next poll is released on Wednesday.

“It’s a complete travesty,” he said. “It’s not good for any team that is a third through an eighth seed because now it is forcing you to beat two teams on their home floor. Six teams are at a huge disadvantage.”

Cal Poly Pomona is ranked in both polls with the women No. 5 and the men at No. 7.

All realize the move is a cost-cutting measure.

“Do I like it? No. Do I understand it? Yes,” Broncos women’s coach Scott David said. “I hope at the end of the season we are still in the mix and it is something I have to think about more.”

Men’s coach Greg Kamansky took the news in stride. He was more worried about having enough healthy players for Wednesday’s game against the Coyotes than what might happen later.

“I’ll go where ever they send me,” said Kamansky, who has just seven healthy players. “I will probably care more later if we’re still in the picture. It’s hard to think about that now.”

All three coaches agree that the worst part of that scenario is that it takes away from the postseason atmosphere.

“I know if I go and I lose I still want to watch the other games. I’m getting ready for next year and I want my players to see what level they need to play at,” Davis said.

“They’re always talking about the student-athlete experience. This will take away from that,” Oliver said. “So now you don’t have the eight-team banquet where all the schools are honored. You have two dinky four-team banquets. It just won’t be the same.”

Kamansky was the lone coach to find the bright spot.

“At least no one will have to worry about a noon game,” he said.

The regional tournament quarterfinals and semifinals would be held on March 13-14, with the winners advancing championship game on Tuesday, March 17 at the site of the highest remaining seed.

Cal State’s Brown earns weekly honor

Cal State San Bernardino center Brandon Brown has been named Wilson
California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Basketball
Player of the Week for the week of February 2-8 1.

 It marks the second straight week and third time this season that Brown has been
honored.

The 6-foot-7 junior from New Orleans, La., was the pivotal player in
the Coyotes surge to first place in the CCAA. He averaged 30 points,
9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steal in road victories
at Chico State and Cal State Stanislaus. He also connected on 62.5
percent of his field goal attempts, including 66.7 (4-of-6) percent
from behind the three-point arc.

In an 84-67 victory at Chico State, Brown scored a career-high 39
points, grabbed six rebounds, collected two steals, had an assist and
blocked shot. He followed that effort with 21 points, 12 rebounds, a
team-high four assists and three blocked shots against Cal State
Stanislaus.

On the season Brown is averaging 19.5 points and 8.9 rebounds.

Women’s player of the week honors went to Katie Busi of Cal State Stanislaus.

The Coyotes return to action on Wednesday when it travels to Cal Poly
Pomona for a 7:30 p.m. contest.

Cal State men slip past Cal State L.A.

SAN BERNARDINO – Maybe the last thing the Cal State San Bernardino team needed was to be on national television. Coach Jeff Oliver criticized his team’s selfish play early in the season and being on television lended itself to that.

But the Coyotes surged past Cal State Los Angeles 74-65 in front of 1,301 Saturday at Coussoulis Arena. The win allows the Coyotes (11-7, 9-3) to remain tied for first place in the CCAA.

“I think the guys did a good job of handling that,” Oliver said.

“I didn’t see a change in their style of play or their demeanor. They didn’t play to the cameras. So maybe we’re past the selfish thing. It was good to see.”

While Oliver admitted it was nice to have the commotion of the television came behind them, the players admitted they enjoyed their moment in the spotlight.

“TV is always good,” beamed big man Brandon Brown, who delivered 24 points, five rebounds and four assists for family and friends watching at home in New Orleans.

Television didn’t exactly bring out the best in the Coyotes. Oliver chalked that up to the physically and emotionally draining game the previous night against Dominguez Hills.

The Coyotes led 36-26 at the half but never put away the pesky Eagles (10-9, 5-7), who were playing without leading scorer Chris Field, who pulled a hamstring at Cal Poly Pomona on Friday.

Cal State’s biggest lead was in the second half was 13 for the last time at 46-33 on a driving layup by Brown.

The Eagles made their move with six minutes left and both Brown and DuBois Williams on the bench with four fouls. A 3-pointer by Dwayne Jones made it 60-54. They soon got within two at 61-59 on another Jones three with 3:35 to go.

But Brown hit two free throws to up the lead to four. Christopher Hart misfired at the Eagles end and Devin Montgomery grabbed the rebound. It paid off as the Coyotes converted with Brown scoring inside to make it 65-59.

A 3-pointer by Montgomery with 1:02 left sealed it at 68-61.

“When it’s that close its all about a couple of big stops at the end,” Williams said. “A tip here, a rebound there. Just some little things.”

The Coyotes shot 50 percent (25-for-50) while the Eagles shot 43.1 (22-for-51). Cal State was beaten on the boards 36-27 but made up for that by forcing 15 turnovers.

Brown was followed by Williams (13), Michael Frazier (11) and Montgomery (10). Williams also collected five assists. Tim Deson managed nine points and four steals.

“I thought we were just a step slow all night but we found a way,” Oliver said. “We just couldn’t shake them. We weren’t as good defensively and not as good on the glass which has pretty much been our MO when we lost. But we found a way.”

The Coyotes will finish with six of their last eight conference games on the road. Next weekend they will play at Chico State and Cal State Stanislaus.

Coyotes trounce Toros, tie for first

By Michelle Gardner

Staff Writer

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
State.

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).

Cal State’s Williams a jack-of-all trades

DuBois Williams sat at the end of the bench at Wells Fargo Arena on the campus of Arizona State. A sprained ankle sidelined him, and all he could do was watch as the Sun Devils battled Cal State San Bernardino, a Division II school with a solid basketball tradition.

Four years later, the most significant playing time of his career is coming at that school. There were two other stops in-between but Williams has found a home and has emerged as the jack-of-all-trades for the Coyotes (9-7, 7-3), who will host CCAA leader Cal State Dominguez Hills (14-3, 8-2) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Coussoulis Arena.

It will be the start of a big weekend for the Coyotes, who host Cal State Los Angeles (10-7, 5-5) in a nationally televised game Saturday.

“I don’t know where we would be without him. He has been our most consistent player. We know what he’s going to give us every night,” Cal State coach Jeff Oliver said. “He is big enough he can be a forward and skilled enough to play point, if that’s where we need him. He does a little bit of everything.”

Williams’ line in the Coyotes’ most recent game confirms his all-around contribution. He scored only four points in a 63-57 win over Monterey Bay last Friday, but he also had nine rebounds, five assists and three steals — all team highs.

On the season, he is averaging 8.5 points but he also is second on the team in rebounding (6.0) and first in assists (3.1) and steals (2.4). He said he doesn’t mind the role of an unsung hero.

He ranks second in the conference in steals and seventh in rebounding and field goal percentage (.521).

“Sure, I would I like to score 20 points a game. Every player wants to be the points guy,” he said before practice on Wednesday. “But it’s a team and everyone has to make sacrifices. I don’t mind being the guy that does the cleanup as long as we win.”

Williams, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound guard, took the long road to San Bernardino. He drew considerable attention from Division I schools during his prep days at Marcos DeNiza High School in Tempe, Ariz., but it faded considerably after he broke his foot for the second time his senior year.

He settled on Arizona State because it was the local school and hoped to earn a scholarship after walking on a freshman. That never happened and he ended up using his medical redshirt.

He transferred to Fresno City College and helped the Rams reach the state semifinal, where it lost to an unbeaten Fullerton team led by current teammate Tim Denson as well as former Coyotes Michael Earl and Phil Jones.

Then it was on to Division I St. Mary’s, which also recruited him out of high school. After playing sparingly for two years he decided to seek a bigger role elsewhere.

“I didn’t see my role changing,” he said. “They had a lot of really good players. I liked the school and the players and I didn’t want to be one of those guys complaining. I just wanted to go and play my senior year where I could have an impact and make a team better.”

He planned on going to Division II Grand Canyon University, also in his home state, but that school was undergoing another coaching change. The former coach there suggested Cal State because of its tradition, playing facility and coaching staff.

Williams’ father Dave, a former player at Oklahoma State and current coach of the ABA’s Phoenix entry, got in touch with Oliver.

“We wanted him to be in a good program close enough we would get a chance to see him play,” Dave Williams said. “We also wanted a total experience, not just a good place to play basketball but a good academic environment. It was the best of both worlds.”

Williams made a trip to watch the Coyotes play in a summer league game at Cal Poly Pomona, then visited the school and worked out with some of the players. Oliver was sold.

“He was great,” Oliver said. “Sometimes guys don’t always look that good because you’re throwing them into a mix with guys they don’t know. But he was super.”

It wasn’t quite that easy. Williams had to complete an on-line Spanish class to finish off his degree from St. Mary’s before he could enroll at Cal State. That grade didn’t get posted until late August.

“We got him late, real late,” Oliver said. “Late enough we weren’t getting anyone else if he didn’t get in.”

The Coyotes haven’t quite lived up to expectations, but Williams has been satisfied with the move. He already has a degree in communications and is seeking another, possibly in architecture so he has something to fall back on if the right professional opportunity doesn’t come up.

He doesn’t regret not coming to Cal State sooner, even though it might have meant more playing time.

“You can’t have regrets,” he said. “You have to make a decision and live with it. I have learned something

Cal Poly men throttle Monterey Bay

POMONA – When your star player is struggling the best way to win
is to have others to pick up the slack. The Cal Poly Pomona Broncos
did that and ran away with an impressive 79-60 win over visiting Cal
State Monterey Bay Friday at Kellog Gymnasium.

Senior preseason All-American Larry Gordon managed just nine
points. It was his fifth straight game in single digits after 40
straight in double digits dating back to his sophomore season.

But the Broncos had four players finish in double figures.
Walter Thompson led the way with 19 points, followed by Austin
Swift (17), Tobias Jahn (14) and Robert Summers (10).

“We got a balanced team effort, the most balanced we’ve had in
awhile,” coach Greg Kamansky said. “If we can have that balance
and run that efficient an offense, we’ll do alright.”

The Broncos started strong, surging out to a 21-6 lead with
11:21 left in the half. Cal Poly maintained that double digit lead
and was up 39-29 at the half.

Gordon managed just two in the first half, that bucket coming on
a jumper with 3:35 left in the half giving his team a 37-25 lead.
That came only seconds after he missed his first field goal try of
the game, a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Gordon hit 4 of 7 tries from the field. All but three of Gordon’s
field goal attempts came from the perimeter. He traditionally scores
most of his points off rebounds, drives to the basket or from the
free-throw line.

The others took advantage of their openings. It helped that so
many of the newcomers have setttled in and seem to have gotten past
the adjustment phase.

“Coach wants us to take the open shots,” said Swift, last week’s
CCAA Player of the Week. “They were sagging off a bit since we
hadn’t been hitting from outside so I had some open shots. I’m
feeling more confident taking them.”

Kamansky has been pleased with his standout’s demeanor through
his uncharacteristic slump. With 7:30 left in the game Gordon broke
free and unleashed a slam dunk, only to be called for traveling. He
just smiled.

The offensive drought hasn’t affected his play in other areas.
Gordon, the leading rebounder in the conference, snagged 14 boards,
all on the defensive end. He also had three steals.

Kamansky thinks it’s only a matter of time before the Gordon of
old is back.

“He looked a lot better tonight,” Kamanksy said. “He played a
lot more in control and he made better decisions.”

Cal Poly finished with a huge 46-30 advantage on the boards.
Gordon was followed by Summers with 11 and Jahn with seven.