Golden Eagles Bounce Back Against Seawolves

Courtesy of Sarah Macias - Sonoma State Sports Information Coordinator

Anthony Quach, Staff Reporter

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The Cal State LA Men’s Basketball team looked to rebound after a tough 76-74 loss against the San Francisco State Gators last Thursday, as they faced off against the Sonoma State Seawolves at the Wolves’ Den in Rohnert Park for a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) game on Saturday, Feb. 2.

The Golden Eagles settled for a split in the road after holding off the Seawolves and defeating them 65-61.

Golden Eagles Head Coach Jim Saia believed that it was a must-win game against the Seawolves.

“Our backs were against the wall, and we would have been 7-8 instead of 8-7 if we didn’t win.”

The game started off with eight unanswered points by the Golden Eagles. After the Seawolves took a timeout, they quickly went on a 20-8 run, making the score 20-16. This was the largest deficit of the game for the Golden Eagles, as they responded back by outscoring the Seawolves 13-6, to take the lead 29-26 going into halftime.

Despite leading the Seawolves after the first half, the Golden Eagles’ shooting percentage was 28.6 percent, shooting 2-of-10 from 3-point range, while making 11-of-13 from the free throw line. The Seawolves shot better from the field, with a shooting percentage of 32.3 percent, but only made 1-of-7 shots from 3-point range, and shooting 5-of-7 from the free throw line.

With the second half underway, the Golden Eagles began to pull away from the Seawolves. After a 3-pointer by Golden Eagles’ guard Kenneth Cyprian, the Golden Eagles had their largest lead of the game– with 12 points–as they led the Seawolves, 57-45.

This did not discourage the Seawolves, however, as they began to slowly chip away at the Golden Eagles’ lead. The Seawolves would go on a 10-2 run to pull within four, as the Golden Eagles’ lead was now 59-55.

After a successful layup by the Seawolves, the lead was now 63-61, with five seconds remaining; however, a foul by the Seawolves and two successful free throw attempts by Cyprian sealed the deal, as the Golden Eagles hung on to defeat the Seawolves 65-61.

“We were able to execute late down the stretch, and getting timely baskets, timely stops, and rebounds,” said Cyprian. “It was tough, but we were able to hold them for the win.”

One of the reasons why the Seawolves were able to mount a comeback late in the game was due to the Golden Eagles’ missed free throw attempts. “We got to make our free throws down the stretch and then we got to get stops,” said Coach Saia. “It was a bit too close, but our guys made enough plays to win the game.”

The Golden Eagles shot 40.7 percent in the second half and made 6-of-13 shots from 3-point range. The Seawolves 44 percent and only made 1-of-6 shots from beyond the arc.

Overall, the Golden Eagles shot 34.5 percent from the field and made 8-of-23 from 3-point range, whereas the Seawolves shot 37.5 percent, but only made 2-of-13 from long distance. The Seawolves outscored the Golden Eagles with points in the paint, 34-16. The Golden Eagles were out-rebounded by the Seawolves, 38-35, but only committed 10 turnovers, compared to the Seawolves’ 13.

Cyprian led the Golden Eagles in scoring with 15 points, shooting 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and making 4-of-5 from the free throw line. His teammates, Junior Guard Fard Muhammad and Forward Jihad Woods were the only other Golden Eagles to be in double figures in scoring, with 13 and 10 points respectively.

With the win, the Golden Eagles’ overall record stands at 12-9. They are currently in eighth place of the CCAA with a record of 8-7, with seven games remaining this season.

Though the season is winding down, Cyprian and his teammates remain focused down the stretch.

“We treat every game the same; we got to prepare and be ready on Thursday against Cal State East Bay and Saturday against Cal State Monterey Bay,” said Cyprian. “It’s about time we get on a winning streak heading into the conference tournament.”

The Golden Eagles will return home for their 2019 Homecoming Game against the second-place Cal State East Bay Pioneers on Thursday, Feb. 7.

Despite the festivities this Thursday, Cyprian and the Golden Eagles look to redeem themselves from their previous matchup against the Pioneers.

“We feel like we let one slip away at Cal State East Bay early this season. It was a game we definitely should have won,” said Cyprian.

In the last meeting between the two teams on Dec. 1, the Golden Eagles suffered a nail-biting defeat against the Pioneers, 70-69 in Hayward, CA.

As the Golden Eagles turn their attention to Thursday, they remain focused on the task at hand to take down the Pioneers.

“It’s Homecoming, so we know the atmosphere is going to be crazy, but the main thing is we can’t jump overboard, we can’t get too hyped,” said Cyprian. “We just have to treat every game the same, and we’re definitely ready for it.

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