The Chico State men’s basketball team is sacrificing its winter break to defend its home court.
The team currently holds a 7-2 overall record and is 1-1 in its conference. The Wildcats’ two losses came from the top competitors they have faced this year, the University of Arizona Wildcats and the San Diego Tritons.
The University of Arizona is a Division I school that struggled to earn the 78-70 win against the ’Cats. Although the game was only during the preseason, junior guard Corey Silverstrom and junior forward Isaiah Ellis had already earned top scoring spots on the roster, with both scoring 15 or more points in the game.
Head coach Greg Clink listed Ellis and Silverstrom as key players for the team this season, as both have the ability to make shots from a variety of areas on the floor. Ellis is the lead scorer for the team this year with 124 points, while Silverstrom trails close behind at second, with 104.
Against UC San Diego, the Wildcats’ 56-60 loss was a reflection of the team struggling with ball handling. Chico State committed 14 turnovers, while the Tritons had only six.
Silverstrom is the team leader in turnovers with 22 this season, but there are five additional Wildcats with more than ten this season. Chico State has only stayed below 10 turnovers in two games this year.
The Dec. 9 win against Humboldt State was a clear indicator of the scoring potential each member on the Wildcats roster has as junior guard Jalen McFerren had an explosive game to earn a double-double.
Clink also named McFerren one of the team’s key players because of his ability to lead his teammates and make important shots. McFerren is able to battle inside for the rebound as well as score, as he had 13 boards and 21 points in the game against Humboldt State.
Chico State plays in four consecutive home games, beginning Dec. 17, against Sonoma State. The Seawolves have a 5-3 record overall and are 1-1 in their conference.
The Wildcats have a rebounding advantage of six compared the Seawolves and make an average of two fewer turnovers a game. Along with a statistical advantage is the Wildcats four-game win streak at home.
Sonoma State does have a shooting advantage in the game, as it makes 46 percent of its shots from the three-point line. Chico State is shooting 35 percent from behind the arc and has not been able to use it effectively when trailing.
Although the men’s basketball team will be practicing instead of enjoying the break, defending its home court may make the holiday season more cheerful.
Makayla Hopkins can be reached at [email protected] or @_MakaylaHopkins on Twitter.