’Cats conquer Broncos, off to championship finals

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Amir Carraway goes for a fancy layup against San Francisco State earlier this season. Photo credit: Annie Paige

History would not repeat itself as the Chico State men’s basketball team defeated Cal Poly Pomona 77-73 for the first time in two seasons in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship Tournament semifinals.

The victory Friday sent the ‘Cats to its third straight CCAA Championship Tournament finals game and will face Cal State Stanislaus, a team the ’Cats had split the regular season series with.

Cal Poly Pomona gave Chico State everything it could handle and came close to eliminating the ‘Cats from the tournament.

In the first half, it would be back and forth for both teams. Chico State shot 50% from the field while Cal Poly Pomona shot 61.54%. The ‘Cats were a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line and went into the half with the lead 42-39.

In the regular season finale, the Broncos came back from 18 points and defeated the ‘Cats. It appeared the Broncos were trying to do the same thing in the semifinals.

Cal Poly Pomona would go on a 12-2 run in the second-half to take the lead from Chico State. The Broncos extended its lead by seven with 10 minutes left to play. The ‘Cats would not let another Broncos comeback happen.

Jordan Semple and Rashad Parker would help Chico State regain the lead and with 18 seconds remaining, Semple passed to an open Sean Park and hit a 3-pointer to extend the ‘Cats lead to four. The Broncos would score on the next possession and get to within two, 75-73, with 10 seconds remaining.

Park was fouled immediately and with eight seconds left would make both free throws and give Chico State the victory.

Semple finished with a double-double by scoring a game-high 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Amir Carraway finished with 18 points while Parker and Giordano Estrada had 12 apiece. Sean Park also finished with 11 points for the ‘Cats.

Chico State improved to 22-6 and will now play Cal State Stanislaus at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday with the goal of being the CCAA Championship Tournament winner and get an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament.

Sergio Sanchez can be reached at [email protected] or
@sergechez on Twitter