A tale of two games
Homecoming game brought victory to Golden Eagles
February 13, 2017
Filed under Sports
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Cal State LA’s basketball teams put on a show in front of a packed house on Homecoming night. The Eagle’s Nest was rocking for both the women and men’s games as they took on Cal State San Bernardino in what was a tale of two different games.
The Lady Golden Eagles continued their home dominance and beat the Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes 71-53 to improve to 8-1 at home.
They came out of the gates strong and got on top early with a 25-8 lead after the first quarter. Senior guard, Samantha Lee caught on fire shooting 4-6 from the three-point line after two quarters. With her amazing shooting, Cal State LA went into the half with a comfortable 44-25 lead over the visiting Coyotes.
Coming out of the half, the Coyotes went on 17-9 scoring run cutting the Golden Eagle’s lead to as little as nine points. Head coach, Cheryl Miller made some critical adjustments to help to keep her team on track.
“We lost a little bit of intensity. We just called a timeout, and kind of gave them some inspirational words and everything else. We were able to get back out there and get that lead back up,” said Miller.
It was freshman guard, Marina LaPuzza who put Cal State LA back on top by double figures at 53-42 with 34 seconds left in the third quarter. At the end of three quarters, the Golden Eagles led 56-43 thanks to a 3-point basket by junior center, Rikke Fabricius.
Cal State LA never looked back after a strong end to the third. They led by 15 or more points throughout the rest of the game. Lee continued her hot shooting night, ending up with a career high 23 points and shooting 6-9 from deep. She was one three-pointer shy of tying the Cal State LA record of threes made in a game.
“It’s amazing. My teammates trust me, I trust my teammates. They always pass me the ball, and I just got to knock down my shot,” said Lee.
With the teams second leading scorer out for the game freshman guard, Da’Jah Jackson (14.4PPG) it was a collective effort by the Golden Eagles. Freshman center, Rachel DiRegolo had an impressive stat line scoring 14 points and bringing down 11 rebounds. Fabricius had 16 points and six rebounds, while LaPuzza ended up with eight points and 10 boards.
The Lady Golden Eagle’s are currently sitting with a CCAA record of 9-7 putting them good for sixth place. They are half a game out of the fifth spot and a game and 1 ½ games out of the fourth.
Following the great performance from Samantha Lee and Co., the men’s team followed up with a thriller against Cal State San Bernardino. In a game that came down to the final second, the Golden Eagles were able to pull out a 71-70 victory. The win put Cal State LA in the fifth spot for the CCAA Championship Tournament.
Playing in his last Homecoming game, senior guard/forward, Roderick Evans-Taylor energized the crowd when he threw down a monster jam in the first half to put the Golden Eagles up 23-16. Cal State LA led by as many as 11 points, but the Coyotes fought back ending the half on a 14-7 scoring run to tie the game at 30-30.
“I expected [the game] to be a dog fight. I know San Bernardino has some tough players. They’re really athletic, they have some bigs that can really do some things with the ball,” said Evans-Taylor.
Cal State San Bernardino came out of the half in full force; going on a 10-2 scoring run to give them a 40-32 lead. Less than four minutes into the half, head coach Jim Saia made crucial adjustments that completely changed the game for the Golden Eagles.
“Second half, we didn’t come out of the gates very good, and we were very lethargic,” said Saia. “Our small ball lineup, with Roderick (Evans-Taylor) and Travis (Hammonds) at the four and five has kind of been our saving grace this year. We started to share and move the ball like I like my teams to play.”
After coach Saia switched to the small ball lineup the Golden Eagles went on a 15-5 scoring run that put them on top of the Coyotes at 47-45 with 12 minutes left in the half. All the momentum shifted back to Cal State LA, and The Eagle’s Nest was jumping.
With 4:43 left in the second half, junior guard, Miles Ford lifted the Golden Eagles to a 12-point lead at 68-56 with a layup. The Coyotes cut the deficit to single digits, 70-62 with 1:17 to go.
However, what once seemed to be a safe lead was cut down to two after Cal State San Bernardino knocked down a three-pointer and converted a three-point play. It was 70-68 with 37 seconds left. Senior forward, Travis Hammonds was fouled converted one of two free-throws to put the Golden Eagles up 71-68.
Eleven seconds were left when the Coyotes tipped in a missed three. In the final seconds, Cal State LA was able to run out the clock and hold on to a 71-70 win.
The Golden Eagles finished with three players in double figures. Evans-Taylor had 15 points, eight rebounds and four assist, while Hammonds ended up with 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Senior guard, Jordan Wilson contributed with 15 points.
Cal State LA is 8-8 in CCAA play and in the fifth spot for the CCAA Championship Tournament.