Golden Eagles Stunned by Broncos

Cal State LA's men basketball team loses a home game against Cal Poly Pomona in a 80-69 game. Photo by Brian Delgado

Anthony Quach, Staff Reporter

The Cal State LA Men’s Basketball team took on the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) game on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Broncos defeated the Golden Eagles, 80-69.

After an explosive first half, the Golden Eagles led the Broncos, 44-33 at halftime. However, as the second half went underway, the Golden Eagles’ fortunes began to change.

The Golden Eagles scored the first five points of the second half, making the score 49-33. However the Broncos went on an 18-2 run to tie the game at 51-51. The Golden Eagles would take back the lead with five points of their own, making the score 56-51.

The Broncos answered back with 15 straight points of their own, as they led the Golden Eagles 66-56.

Once Cal Poly Pomona had the lead, they never looked back, as they outscored the Golden Eagles 47-25 in the second half.

It was a tale of two halves, as the Broncos shot 60 percent from the field, while the Golden Eagles shot at 34 percent.

“They outplayed and out-coached us in the second half and we didn’t respond,” said Golden Eagles Head Coach Jim Saia.

“I think we could have slowed down and have been more patient,” said Junior guard Fard Muhammad, who led the Golden Eagles in scoring with 16 points, shooting 3-of-6 from 3-point range. “I think we panicked when they got a couple turnovers in a row and that’s not how we usually play.”

Muhammad was one of three Golden Eagles to score in the double figures. His teammates, Senior forward Jihad Woods and Junior forward Ja’Sean Lewis scored 14 and 10 points respectively.

Coach Saia believed that the biggest challenge throughout the game was the Broncos’ pressure and physicality:

“The Broncos made the adjustments on our switching defense and they made adjustments on their zone defense, and as a result it stifled our offense and we did not adjust.”

The Golden Eagles have lost back-to-back games as their overall record this season is now 10-8 while their CCAA record is 6-6. This puts the Golden Eagles in eighth place of the CCAA conference with ten games left in the regular season.

“We’re just going to take it one game at a time,” said Golden Eagles Senior guard Kenneth Cyprian. “We’ve got to get better and protect home court.”

This is the third straight loss at home for the Golden Eagles, but does not discourage Cyprian. He remains confident in his team’s chances down the stretch:

“We just have to make sure we’re in the top eight at the end of the season, because we know at the end of the day, we can beat any team at any place.”

The Golden Eagles’ next game will be on Jan. 26 as they travel to Carson to take on the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros.

“The Toros are a tough team, they can really shoot the ball and we have to get on their shooters,” said Coach Saia. “We have until Saturday to prepare for them and hopefully get a victory on the road.”

“It should be a fun game,” said Cyprian. “It’s definitely a very serious game for us. Little bit of a rivalry between us and the Toros, but we’re going to go back to the drawing board and see what we can fix and stay together as a team.”

The last time both teams faced off against each other was last month on Dec. 19, when the Toros escaped with a victory over the Golden Eagles at University Gym, 89-86.

“We’re coming in with a chip on our shoulder,” said Muhammad, who has his eyes set on victory against the Toros. “When it’s conference play, you can’t let a team beat you twice and we all got that in our mind.”