Men’s Basketball Blows Out the Otters

Cal State LA's men's basketball team wins against Monterey Bay in a home game of 93-71.

Anthony Quach, Staff Reporter

After suffering a tough overtime loss on Homecoming Night against the Cal State East Bay Pioneers, the Cal State LA men’s basketball team looked to bounce back with a win against the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) game on Sat, Feb. 9 at the University Gym.

The Golden Eagles responded back in a big way, as they decimated the Otters, 93-71.

The Golden Eagles trailed by as many as five points in the first half, when the Otters led 31-26.

The Otters’ lead did not last long, however, as the Golden Eagles took back the lead with back-to-back 3-pointers from junior guard Shacquille Dawkins and senior guard Kenneth Cyprian, making the score 32-31.

The Golden Eagles did not let up as they continue to score and pressure the Otters on defense. The Golden Eagles would end the first half on a 22-5 run, taking a 48-36 lead after trailing 31-26.

As the second half commenced, the Golden Eagles continued their dominance over the Otters, outscoring them 45-35 in the second half to win the game 93-71.

“We did a good job tonight,” said Golden Eagles Head Coach Jim Saia. “We played a really solid game and I thought our team executed very well.”

For the Golden Eagles and their junior guard Fard Muhammad, this was a very important win. “We’re still fighting for a good playoff spot. We want the home-court advantage when playoffs come,” said Muhammad. “Every game from here on out is important, whether we lose or win the last one.”

Overall, the Otters had a shooting percentage of 41.5 percent, while they were 10-of-29 from 3-point-range. The Golden Eagles were 45.7 percent from the field and shot 21-of-45 from 3-point-range.

The Golden Eagles tied their school record for most 3-pointers made in a game, with 21 successful 3-pointers, the most against a CCAA opponent. The 3-point record was set last season against the Bethesda Flames.

Muhammad led his team in scoring with 23 points, shooting 8-of-16 from the field, and 7-of-14 from 3-point-range. His teammates, junior guard Jordan Rogers, had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. Cyprian had 11 points on top of three rebounds and was 3-of-6 from downtown.

The win snaps the Golden Eagles’ four-game losing streak at home, as they are now 13-10 overall this season. Their CCAA record stands at 9-8, as they remain in eighth place in the conference. The Golden Eagles are 1.5 games out of fourth place with five games remaining this season.

“It’s good to win a game at home,” said Coach Saia. “It’s crazy because we have a road record that could win the league.” Coach Saia added that he was thankful for the homecoming turnout against East Bay, and hopes to get the crowd back for future home games.

The Golden Eagles’ next two games will be on the road as they return to CCAA action on Thursday, Feb. 14 to take on the Cal State San Marcos Cougars. Afterwards on Sat, Feb. 16, the Golden Eagles will head to La Jolla, CA to battle the first place UC San Diego Tritons.

For Coach Saia, Thursday’s game against the Cougars will be his own homecoming, as he previously coached at Cal State San Marcos for six years (2010-2016).

“It fun to go down to San Diego, but we have got to take it one game at a time,” said Coach Saia. “San Marcos is struggling but they’re playing good basketball, so they’ll be tough to beat. UCSD is winning the league right now, but we’ll be ready to go against them on Saturday.”