Men’s basketball on a roll


Photo by Kedar Dutt/The Pioneer

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

Last year the California State East Bay men’s basketball team started their season at just 2-5; not very good. However this year, the men started off 6-1 and are currently on a five-game winning streak after wins over Northwest Nazarene and Academy of Art this past Thanksgiving weekend.

On Friday the men traveled to Chico State for the 2016 Mac Martin Invitational where they faced Northwest Nazarene University (2-3 overall).

East Bay dominated as senior forward Micah Dunhour led the Pioneers to victory. The forward led all scorers with 23 points, going 6 for 12 on field goals, 2 for 3 from behind the three point line and 9 for 9 on free throws. He also had 6 rebounds and 2 assists in 32 minutes of playing time. Micah has been a consistent player for East Bay in the past few games as he put up 22 points in their game on Nov. 22 against Holy Names and 15 against Montana State on Nov. 19.

“I changed my diet this summer and I think that has really helped me with my game this season,” Dunhour said. “I feel better and have more energy. Our coaching staff provided us with different things we can do in our everyday eating habits to help us peak our performance. I’m in the best shape of my life.”

The Pioneers capitalized off of Northwest’s turnovers, scoring 20 points off them. Their bench also dominated, outscoring them 36-10. East Bay has confidence in themselves and their teammates and it shows in their gameplay, specifically in their quick ball movement and sharp passes they use to take advantage of the opportunities handed to them.

The Pioneers’ main weakness was the points they allowed in the paint; the Crusaders outscored the Pioneers in the paint, 34 to 12. If the Pioneers can improve down low, they will be a very dangerous team in the California Collegiate Conference Association Conference this year.

Towards the end of the first half, four players from both East Bay and Northwest Nazarene were ejected due to an incident. The Pioneer’s sophomore point guard Juwan Anderson and Northwest’s Jalen Shepherd were both restricted from playing the next day due to a one-game suspension.

East Bay finished the game with a double-digit win, 71-53.

On Saturday, the Pioneers faced the Academy of Art (1-5), which added to their five-game winning streak. Initially, the Pioneers were outrebounded again 32-31, but they continued to play hard and find good looks, which led them to the 78-71 win.

Dunhour put up double digits for his fifth game in a row, as he scored 14 points. Freshman guard Druce Asah also performed well again with his fourth double-digit scoring game of the season, and led the Pioneers with 22 points.

By the end of the first half, the Pioneers looked in control of the game as they led Academy of Art by 13 points, their shots fell and the squad got contributions from a slew of players. That momentum carried until the middle of the second half where the Academy of Art cut the lead down to three.

East Bay started to turn the ball over, which led to points for the other team and stripped the Pioneers of their double-digit lead. It looked as if the men would have to remain cautious and continue to fight for the remainder of the game to stop the Urban Knights from completing a comeback.

“We can’t lose our focus, especially when we are up,” Asah said. “We have to continue to defend and limit turnovers to ensure us a win, and I am glad we woke up so the Academy of Art could not come back.”

The Pioneers defense held the Urban Knights to a dismal 11.2 three-point shooting percentage and East Bay’s 50 percent shooting percentage saved them and helped them win the game 78-71.

The men will play their first CCAA game on Friday at California State Monterey Bay (2-3) and at San Francisco State (6-0) on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

“We have seen it all, we have won games by 10 plus, we have won games close as well, so we know how to compete in different situations,” said Asah. “On top of that we are a close knit group and we trust each other in what each of us bring to the table.”