On the hilltop Monday, the CSU East Bay men’s basketball team lost a hard-fought defensive struggle against the UCSD Tritons by a final score of 64-53. Although the team was driven by flashes of offensive life, poor execution doomed the Pioneers by the end of the first half.
With this loss, the team has now lost every game in CCAA Conference play this year. Although the CSUEB program is still trying to transition into the Division II style of play, the inability to win crucial match ups has led to a general malaise in the program. The bench and the fan base have both been reenergized since the move back into the NCAA, but once again the toll of being bested each time on the court has hurt all who participate in this process of midlevel collegiate basketball.
Despite the efforts set forth by underclassmen, including the pair of sophomore guards Donavon Jackson and Mark Samuels, and freshman forward Jacob Straley, CSUEB never seemed to be able to move past a seven- to ten-point deficit, set early in the game.
This meant that UCSD could dominate the tempo and grind the style of play against the young Pioneer team into something that was painfully slow and suffocating.
Junior center Christian Hatch, who led UCSD in their home victory over CSUEB back on Dec. 14, posted a double-double against the Pioneers on Monday night.
Does it help to mention that the women’s basketball team had just previously lost to the Lady Tritons by a stunning 82-44 final score? The loss dropped them to the painful position of dead last, with a record of 0-12 on the season.
A New Year’s resolution for both teams: forget the past, because, frankly, there is none. Focus on winning at home, take the past losses and learn to play well on the road. Every day, hit the court as though you have a 0-0 record.
For the time being, it will be very hard for the CSUEB fan base, which already has little to look to in the past, to look to the future.
There may be a time when the 200 hundred or so fans at Monday night’s game multiply and become a sustainable base of support, but it is not coming any time soon.
One bright spot is the new small but boisterous CSUEB Pep Band, which adds significantly to the collegiate sports environment. In fact, the entire Event Staff put on a good effort trying to sell the team to people who have little commonality to draw from.
Everything will be reenergized—the fan base, the athletic department, the facilities, and the talent level—once the basketball teams are able to string a few wins together.
Let’s hope that a quick trip through California’s heartland can strengthen the men’s team for a four-game homestretch featuring conference rivals from Southern California. The women’s team is duplicating this schedule and will most assuredly endure more devastating losses.
Look to see the CSUEB men challenge the surprisingly disappointing Cal Poly Pomona Broncos, who won the Conference last year. Such a home win could console a CSUEB organization which will be hosting the CCAA Conference Championship this February that for all intents and purposes will not feature a team from CSUEB.
With a New Year comes new opportunity—let’s hope that for our athletics, it’s a good one.