Men’s basketball splits games over weekend

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

The California State East Bay Men’s basketball team went 1-1 over the weekend during a trip to Southern California for conference play.

On Friday, the men played their first road trip game against California State Los Angeles (10-10 overall, 6-6 conference). In their previous matchup in December at home, East Bay beat the Golden Eagles in a very close game, 86-84 with strong performances from Druce Asah, Micah Dunhour and Jalen Richard. But this go-around was different.

Cal State LA came back with a vengeance and snapped the Pioneers’ two-game win streak. “We were not 100 percent focused on the defensive end and we settled a lot on the outside,” said senior forward Dunhour.

In the first half, LA was all over the Pioneers and held them to only a 35.4 shooting percentage from the field. Their high press led to East Bay trailing by the end of the half

30-39. The Golden Eagles shot 56 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free-throw line, which made it difficult for the Pioneers to find an advantage.

In the second half, East Bay picked it up and their shots started to fall as they scored 50 points in the half, but it was not enough to overpower Cal State LA. The Golden Eagles dominated in the paint 34-24 and outrebounded the Pioneers 40-28.

“If we want to make playoffs we have to be stronger in that area, treat every game like it is a win-or-go-home situation and that is by being aggressive,” said senior guard Richard. Giving opponents points inside paint has been a struggle for the Pioneers for a majority of the season.

The Pioneers lost the game 90-80. Dunhour had 21 points on 9-for-15 on shooting and 5 rebounds, 3 assist and two blocks. Richard had another great game with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

East Bay had to let the loss go and shifted their focus to their next game against California State Dominguez Hills (9-7, 5-5) where Dunhour and Richard both had another outstanding game and led their team to a win.

The Pioneers came out hot in the first quarter. In the first half the team went on a 29-8 run, and took a 45-26 lead going into the second half. The men picked up their defensive play and it showed as they held the Toros to a 29 percent shooting percentage and did not let them score a single three pointer in the first half.

A key difference between this game and their game against Cal State LA was in the way East Bay’s shot fell. They shot 58 percent from the floor in the first half and 84.6 percent from the free throw line.

In the second half, Dominguez Hills outscored the Pioneers 35-45. They shot 73.9 percent from the field and 60 percent from behind the arc, but the Pioneers strong first half performance was enough to secure the 80-71 win. “There was no way we could lose two games in a row, I was not going to let that happen,” said Richard.

Contributions from Richard and Dunhour were also key components to the win. Richard scored 25 points and had a team high of seven rebounds in 32 minutes. He went 8-for-13 on shooting from the field, and 2-for-5 from behind the arc. It was Richard’s 6th consecutive game, scoring double figures

Dunhour had a team high of 26 points on 9-for-19 shooting, with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. “Our team plays well and so do I when I am aggressive defensively and offensively,” said Dunhour. “I just try and stay in attack mode at all times. My role is to be a leader for our guys and try my best to echo what coach wants in the game.”

Dunhour and Richard have shown nothing but senior leadership these past few games. They have done what it takes to lead their team to success and it shows on the court. The two have kept the Pioneers together and in playoff position.

East Bay is now 12-7 overall and 5-6 in conference. They return home this weekend for a game against Humboldt State (8-10, 3-8) on Friday and Cal Poly Pomona (5-10, 3-8) on Saturday. In their first matchup against Humboldt, the Pioneers lost 62-68, so they will be looking for revenge this time around.