Sports
April 29, 2017
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SSU takes tourney opener

  • Sonoma State University's Armani Nicolis soars to the hoop for two points during the Seawolves' CCAA playoff win over Cal Poly Pomona. SSU plays tonight against San Francisco State. Photo by Robert Grant

By: SSU NewsCenter
March 3, 2017
Seawolves beat Broncos, meet SF State tonight

Cal Poly Pomona knocked off Sonoma State University’s men’s basketball team in the regular season finale last week, but the Seawolves earned redemption at a game of greater importance, Tuesday night’s California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament opener, 63-56, in the Wolves’ Den.

The victory puts the Seawolves into the CCAA semifinals tonight, March 3, against San Francisco State. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. at the Sports Center in San Marcos.

SSU upped its record to 20-7. 

Meeting for the second time in four days, Sonoma was looking to get off to a much better start out of the gate this time around. From the very beginning of the contest one could tell it was going to be a grind throughout the duration of the game with both teams unable to pull away early on. 

Neither team was able to find any separation until Ronnie Harris made a pair of free throws with 10:29 left in the half, putting the Seawolves up 18-13, which was their largest lead of the game at the time. After going up 20-16 with 8 minutes to go before halftime, Sonoma suddenly went cold and went 4 minutes without a field goal. Fortunately for SSU, its defense was able to hold CPP to only four points in that time span.

With the score knotted at 20, the Seawolves went on a 7-0 run that included a 3-point basket by Jimmy Golden, a steal by Brian Johnson and a fast break layup by Khalid Johnson to take a 27-20 lead with 3:16 remaining in the half. A couple of possessions later, Jackson Gion made 3-point shots on back-to-back possessions, putting the Seawolves up nine, before heading into halftime with a 33-26 lead. Sonoma shot the ball really well in the first half, going 9 for 19 from the floor (47.7 percent) and were especially dialed in from distance, going 5-9 (55.6 percent) out of the gate. The nation's No. 1-ranked defense also held CPP to 8-for-24 shooting (33.3 percent) and 2 of 11 from 3-point range.

SSU struggled to get into a rhythm upon returning from the break, being held scoreless for the first five and a half minutes, until Golden made a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 36-31. Still trying to find a rhythm, SSU eventually fell behind 38-37 with 11:23 left in the contest. Looking for a spark plug, the Seawolves turned to Isaac Davidson, a freshman from Auckland, New Zealand, off the bench and immediately he started a rally. Moments after checking in, he made a floater from the free throw line, which was the start of a 9-0 run and suddenly Sonoma was up by eight, leading 46-38 with 8:44 to go.

The Seawolves seemed to be sitting on a comfortable 57-48 lead with 3:24 left in the game, but any basketball fan knows that 3 minutes is an eternity, especially down the stretch. The Broncos managed to rally back and cut the deficit to 59-56 with 1:23 remaining after a few made baskets by Jordan Ogundiran and their ability to force turnovers because of immense defensive pressure. The score would hold up at 59-56 until about three seconds left in the game, when tempers began to flare. After Ogundiran missed a layup, Armani Nicolis grabbed the rebound, which was quickly followed by an intentional foul. After Ogundiran fouled Nicolis, Ogundiran was hit with a double technical, resulting in his ejection from the game. 

Harris sank all four of the technical free throws and the Seawolves won the contest by a score of 63-56.

Golden led the way with 13 points, and Harris followed with 10 points. As a team, SSU shot 45.9 percent overall, going 17 for 37 from the floor and hit 50 percent of its 3-pointers, going 8 for 16. SSU also connected on 21 of 27 free throws. The defense held CPP to 38.3 percent shooting and 27.3 percent on from 3-point range.