The Orion

‘Cats win league title, but fall short in the postseason

Senior Tanner Giddings looks for a teammate to pass the ball in a game against Cal Poly Pomona. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

Senior Tanner Giddings looks for a teammate to pass the ball in a game against Cal Poly Pomona. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

Kenta Mcafee

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With the longest losing streak capping off its season, the Chico State men’s basketball team won the CCAA season title, but couldn’t keep its momentum going and finished with a 22-7 overall record.

The Wildcats began their season with a strong start, losing just one game in their preseason. During the season the team enjoyed several winning streaks, including an eight-game win streak and a 10-game home win streak.

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Junior Robert Duncan fights through traffic to get to the basket in a game against Cal Poly Pomona. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

 

Their success seemed to come to a halt after losing an ESPN3-broadcast game to Cal Poly Pomona on their home court. Sophomore guard Jalen McFerren said he felt the loss was a major factor in their inability to win in the postseason.

“My theory is we had a mental lapse after the ESPN game. Discipline was a big thing that we lacked,” McFerren said.

After the ESPN game, the ‘Cats went 2-5 and had their lowest scoring performance of the season with just 37 points against Cal State L.A. UC San Diego ended the Wildcats’ season in the first round of the NCAA West Regional Tournament.

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Senior center Tanner Giddings jumps for the tip-off in a game against Cal Poly Pomona. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

 

While their final loss dashed their hopes of winning the West Regional Tournament, the Wildcats’ assistant coach Lucas Gabriel stated that he believed their future to be “brighter than ever.”

“We had a young team this year. We have everyone coming back and we couldn’t be more excited,” Gabriel said.

He had several reasons for the poor play of the team in the end, including the poor shot selection and the high pressure put on the players. While he stated that he believed these to be major factors, he pointed out the biggest factor to be the lack of experience among the team.

With only two seniors and two juniors, the team was mostly underclassmen who had yet to experience playing in a college tournament. While the team is still recruiting five new players for next season, it’s confident that the overall experience of the team will help it succeed.

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Sophomore guard Corey Silverstrom high-fives his teammates before a game against Cal Poly Pomona. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

 

Sophomore guard Corey Silverstrom was unsure that the experience of the team caused as many problems as the poor shooting performance.

“We just didn’t take good shots, and we weren’t playing our style of basketball,” Silverstrom said.

Although the team was unable to end its season on a high note, it’s been a motivating factor for many members on the team. Both McFerren and Silverstrom were excited to improve their skills by hitting the weight room and getting back on the court.

“I have guys who are dying to get back in the weight room and who are ready to do even better next year,” Gabriel said.

The ‘Cats may have fallen short in the West Regional Tournament, but were able to win their league and are eager for next season.

Kenta McAfee can be reached at [email protected] or @KentaMcAfee on Twitter.

 

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‘Cats win league title, but fall short in the postseason