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.