Men’s basketball finds its rhythm

Cal State Eastbay Men’s Basketball team during game against Stanislaus State Warriors held on 6 th January 2018 at Pioneer Gymnasium at Hayward.

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

After two tough losses in the Inland Empire of Southern California versus Cal State San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona, the Cal State East Bay men’s basketball team bounced back at home.

The team won two home games this past week to improve their record to 8-8 overall, and 4-6 in conference play. This puts them in eighth place in California Collegiate Athletic Association play (CCAA) out of 13 teams.

“The two wins are big time,” sophomore guard Druce Asah said. “It put us in playoff contention. Going for a sweep this weekend is great for us considering how tough it is playing in the CCAA.”

On Thursday, the team faced off against Sonoma State (3-6, 5-8 overall) in what was one of their better games of the season.

Sophomore guard Druce Asah led the team as he went 6-for-9 from the three point line, with 21 points and eight rebounds, leading all scorers.

The game was close and both teams exchanged leads throughout the majority of the first half. Though toward the end, East Bay went on an 11-2 run and was able to take a 33-24 lead with a little over two minutes left in the half.

Sonoma managed to put in some points, but the Pioneers closed out the half with a 37-30 lead.

Going into the second half, Sonoma cut the Pioneers’ lead to one point as the Seawolves went on a 6-0 run to pen the half. From that point, the game would again remain close.

With just under fourteen minutes left in the game, the two teams were tied at 43 and the Seawolves were able to take a brief lead, but the Pioneers were able to take the lead again after Junior guard Juwan Anderson hit a three.

From that point on, the Pioneers maintained the lead and were able to win the game 77-66.

Anderson scored the Pioneers’ last 12 points, so the team could attribute the win to him. He was extremely efficient from the free throw line, as eight of the points came from the line. He finished the night with 14 points.

East Bay had a day of recovery on Friday as they prepared to play one of the better teams in the CCAA, Stanislaus State (10-5, 6-4 conf.).

Anderson performed very well again, as he led the team with 16 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists. It was one of his best games of the season.

Freshman guard Keshawn Bruner also had a great game with 10 points, as well as senior guard Drew Bender, who had 15 points.

The first half was low in points, as the Pioneers shot 40 percent from the field, 33 percent from the three point line while Stanislaus shot 35 percent from the field and 15 percent from the three point line.

Despite the disappointing shooting, both teams also played very good defense. They went into the second half tied at 29 as Bruner hit a shot for the Pioneers at the buzzer inside the paint to tie the game up.

Throughout the second half, the game remained close with a few lead exchanges. But toward the end of the game, East Bay maintained stellar defense and was able to lead by as much as 9 with just over two minutes left on the clock.

East Bay secured the 72-63 win and walk off the court with two straight dubs.

If the Pioneers continue to keep it up on the defensive end and take advantage of the opportunities given to them at the basket, they will have a good chance at making the playoffs.

But as head Coach Bryan Rooney stressed in the beginning of the season, if they don’t defend well, it will be hard for that to happen for the team.

“We have to finish out close games,” Asah said. “We have dropped a couple of close games and if can do that, we will win more and maintain a better record.”

East Bay will face off against two of the best teams in the conference: Cal State San Marcos (6-2, 11-3) today and UC San Diego (7-2, 10-5) on Jan. 13.