Men’s basketball gets a win on senior night

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

The Cal State East Bay men’s basketball team honored their three seniors, guards Jelani Mitchell and Drew Bender and center Kyle Frakes, on Saturday prior to the last home game of the 2017-18 season.

“My senior season was a dream,” Bender said. “Obviously it didn’t finish the way I had hoped, but it was still one crazy ride and I’ll never forget it.”

Despite recent struggles, East Bay managed to beat the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters (4-21 overall, 3-18 CCAA) for the second time this season and finished senior night on a high note with an 88-69 win.

The Pioneers started the game strong and were able to maintain control of the contest throughout the entire game.

Last year they were 13-15 overall, and 16-14 in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play. The year before that, in the 2015-16 season, they were 9-18 overall and 5-15 in the CCAA.

They are currently 10-17 overall and 5-15 in conference play and will not be able to make the postseason. It’s an ongoing cycle for the Pioneers, as they have yet to make to the postseason since joining the CCAA in 2010.

If they played like they did on senior night consistently, the CCAA tournament could be the reward, sooner than later.

“This year taught us to just keep pushing,” Bender said. “We had a couple stretches this year where we could have gave in, but we didn’t and I am so proud of our guys for that.”

In the first half, the Pioneers led by as much as 10 points against the Otters.

Mitchell performed well and was hot during his senior game. He scored 13 points in the half going 5-for-8 from the field. Frakes added 7 and Bender 6.

In the second half, East Bay kept up the efficiency, this time leading by as much as 26 points with just under eight minutes left on the clock. Sophomore guard Druce Asah hit a three pointer to put the Pioneers up 74-48.

Shortly after, Frakes managed to throw down a dunk with six minutes left.

Mitchell was quiet in the second half, only scoring 3 points, but Frakes was able to put up 8 points and Bender 7.

Druce Asah had a great second half to help lead the team to the win as he had 13 points in the half on 4-for-5 on shooting including 3-for-4 from behind the three point line.

“All of my best moments at East Bay involve my teammates,” Frakes said. “I had the privilege to be around some great people and I’m forever going to be thankful for that.”