Broncos bring home national championship

For a year the Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team had to live with the heartbreak that comes with losing a national championship game in the most dramatic way possible. But the Broncos now have happier memories.

Coach Greg Kamansky’s team was in control from start to finish and defeated Indiana (Penn,) 65-53 in the NCAA Divison II national championship game in Springfield, Mass. on Saturday morning. It was the first title in men’s basketball but the 14th for the school, the most being five in women’s basketball.

Last year the Broncos suffered a 56-53 loss to unbeaten Findlay (Ohio) on a 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime. But they took no chances and led wire to wire this time. The Broncos were up by 14 in the first half and 17 in the second. The Crimson Hawks didn’t get closer than eight and that was in the last minute of the game, That’s total control.

Austin Swift was named tournament MVP. That was a no-brainer with the way he played in the post-season. He had 12 points and six rebounds in the title tilt. But as usual the Broncos got contributions from everyone. Dahir Nasser also played a steady, heady game and was named to the All-Tournament team

Donnelle Booker and Tobias Jahn chipped in with 13 and 10 respectively. Jahn was MIA much of the year with injuries but he showed up big time when the Broncos most needed him.

The team will return home on Sunday with their Southwest flight due in at LAX around noon. 

 

 

Broncos post win over LeMoyne 68-64

When youre struggling, nothing is easy. So the Cal Poly Pomona mens basketball team was happy with a win no matter what it looked like.

Larry Gordon and Angelo Tsagarakis combined for 41 points to lead the Broncos to a 68-64 nonconference win over LeMoyne (NY) on  Sunday at Kellogg Gymnasium. The victory helped erase the memory of a poor performance in Las Vegas two weeks ago that resulted in two losses by a combined 27 points.
It also proved something to build on as the Broncos (2-5, 1-1) get back to conference play next weekend.

We had a better fighting spirit tonight, said Broncos coach Greg Kamansky, who has been critical of his teams lack of heart this season. We made some free throws down the stretch when it was close and we could have folded the tents. So that was encouraging. We just need to be more consistent.

Gordon, a Montclair High School product, finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double. Tsagarakis had 20 points, six assists and four steals.

Kevin Neveau and Kyle Krause shared playing time in place of Kaelen Daniels, who was serving a one-game suspension after being ejected from the Broncos second game in Las Vegas. Krause scored 10 points and Neveau had six, although both fouled out.

Players said they were only concerned with what they could contol – their own effort level.

We havent been doing what we needed to do, Gordon said. It wasnt about what the other team was doing. It was about us playing harder and being more aggressive. You may not always be playing your best but if you play hard, things still might go your way.

LeMoyne (6-6), a Division II school out of Syracuse, N.Y., led only once at 2-0.

The Broncos were ahead by 14 points after an 11-0 run made it 30-16 with 2:31 left in the first half. The Dolphins answered that with a 7-0 run and trailed at the half, 30-23.

Cal Polys biggest lead in the second half was 10 at 41-31 but the Broncos couldnt put the game away.
Gordon scored on a putback with 4:47 left that gave the host team a 49-43 lead. The Broncos then tallied 17 of their last 19 points from the free-throw line, missing just four tries in that stretch with Tsagarakis going 6-for-6. It was a significant accomplishment since the Broncos entered the game hitting just 58 percent from the line.

The Broncos were up 64-60 when LeMoynes Laurence Ekperigin, who led the Dolphins witrh 23 points, hit two free throws to close the gap to two with 22 seconds left. But Pomonas Rich Collins hit two at the other end to put the game away.

I wasnt surprised it was a close game because I know where we are right now, Kamansky said. Hopefully we can get something positive out of this and go from here.

The Broncos shot 51.3 percent (20-for-39) while the Dolphins hit just 47.1 (24-for-51) including a woeful 39.1 (9-for-23) in the first half. The Broncos finished with a 30-25 edge in rebounds despite Daniels absence. Each team had 16 turnovers.

The Broncos play host to Dominguez Hills on Friday and Cal State Los Angeles on Saturday. The Dolphins played Cal State L.A. last  Friday and were beaten by the Eagles by 20.

We know that anything can happen once conference play starts again, Gordon said. Were looking at it as a chance to start over because were still only 1-1 in conference.

Broncos fall to Western Washington in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – Cal Poly Pomona coach Greg Kamansky wasn’t quite sure whether or not the 17-day layoff would help or hurt his team heading into the Great Western Shootout. It didn’t take him long to find out.

The Broncos were soundly beaten by Western Washington 73-64 Tuesday at the Centennial Hills Center in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. They will be looking for a better outcome in today’s 2 p.m. game against Central Washington.

“We just got thrashed from top to bottom,” Kamansky said. “They were the better team, no doubt about it. We went completely blank on offense. We did that against San Francisco State. We did it against Vanguard and we did it again tonight.”

The Broncos (1-4) led early at 14-8 but that lead lasted only seven minutes. The Vikings pulled even when junior center Zach Bruce scored inside to tie the game at 19. The Vikings (7-1) took the lead for good moments later on a put back by junior forward Calin Schell.

Western Washington, which has won seven straight games since losing its season opener to Cal State San Bernardino, led 23-19 when Kevin Neveau scored inside with 6:12 left in the half to cut the deficit to two, 23-21.

But the Vikings reeled off the last 10 points of the half and the first eight of the second half, going up 41-21 on a jumper from the baseline by Derrick Webb. The scoring drought of 9:35 finally ended on two free throws by Larry Gordon but the Broncos were never in striking distance again.

Western Washington, out of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, maintained a double-digit lead most of the second half. The Broncos didn’t get within single digits until Gordon hit a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left.

Cal Poly Pomona shot 42.6 percent (23-for-54) but managed just 36 percent (9-for-25) in the first half. Angelo Tsagarakis had a team-high 19 points, including three 3-pointers. He also snagged eight rebounds and had four assists. Gordon added 15 with 10 rebounds but all of his points and seven boards came in the second half.

Kamansky cited the layoff for the sluggish performance.

“I hate to use that as an excuse but we definitely looked like we haven’t played in two weeks,” he said. “Our schedule has been erratic and we just haven’t been able to get in a rhythm.”

Western Washington, which shot 474 percent (27-for-57) was sparked by a local product as former Fontana High standout Ira Graham who tallied 14 points, 12 of those in the first half. He also collected five assists and a steal.

Graham, who leads the GNAC in scoring, admits he likes playing against the local teams.

“I definitely get more focused, more excited when I play the local teams,” the junior guard said. “I had a lot of family here so it made it even better.”

Kamansky added that the pressure is on to win the second game in the tournament. Teams from the CCAA and the GNAC battle for playoff berths in the Division II West Regional in March so this weekend’s games will have an impact.

“We aren’t leaving ourselves a lot of room for error,” he said. “Right now we don’t look like a good team.”