The Orion

Comeback ’Cats heading to Elite Eight

Sergio Sanchez

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Jordan Semple makes a free throw against Sonoma State earlier this season. Photo credit: Alex Boesch


History was made once again Monday night as Chico State defeated Cal State Stanislaus 81-80 and advanced to its first Elite Eight.

The ‘Cats trailed the entire game until there were only 1.9 seconds remaining and Amir Carraway would hit the two biggest free-throws of his career thus far.

Cal State Stanislaus was a team that only two weeks ago had beaten Chico State in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship Tournament finale. It had appeared in the first 39 minutes that the ‘Cats would be sent home again by the Warriors.

Chico State shot 42.90 percent from the field while Cal State Stanislaus shot 41.70 percent. Despite having the shooting advantage, the ‘Cats found themselves going into the half trailing 44-31. The Warriors had the lead due to shooting 8-13 from beyond the arch, while Chico State was 11-26.

The second-half was much of the same, as the Warriors had a comfortable lead for most of the half and seemed to be heading to the Elite Eight.

Even with 2:34 remaining in the game and trailing 74-63, Chico State did not give up. The ‘Cats would go on a 14-6 run within two minutes.

Amir Carraway would be fouled with 11 seconds remaining and hit two free-throws to bring Chico State within one of the Warriors, 80-79.

On the very next inbound play, Rob Walters of Cal State Stanislaus would toss the ball over his teammate’s head and Jordan Semple would get the ball and be fouled.

Semple went to the free-throw line for a one-and-one but missed the first shot. Carraway grabbed the rebound and was fouled, sending him to the line again.
He would hit both free-throws and give Chico State its first tie and lead of the game.

The Warriors heaved a half-court shot but missed, giving the ‘Cats the victory.

Rashad Parker led Chico State with 19 points, while Carraway had 16 points. Also in double figures for the ‘Cats were Mike Rosaroso with 11 points and Sean Park with 10.

Chico State improved to 25-7 and will now head to Evansville, Indiana for the Elite Eight. The ‘Cats will face the winner of Montevallo vs S.C. Aiken on March 26.

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

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Comeback ’Cats heading to Elite Eight