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Best ’Cats in the West

Ellis and Duncan hug after a win Photo credit: Jordyn Smith

Ellis and Duncan hug after a win Photo credit: Jordyn Smith

Patrick Pace

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The Chico State men’s basketball team won the West Region of the NCAA tournament against UC San Diego thanks to the team’s two starting junior players.

Forward Isaiah Ellis, named the most outstanding player of the tournament, had 35 points and guard Corey Silverstrom had 21.

Ellis kept the ‘Cats in the game in the first half, showing his all-around game by hitting jumpers and lay-ups, and even showing off his handles. He ended the first half with 21 and willed the ‘Cats to a 37-34 lead.

Corey Silverstrom struggled throughout the first half but in the last ten minutes of the game he came on strong, hitting 3 three-pointers and making six free-throws to put the ‘Cats up for good. Ellis also chipped in 13 points in the second half to go with Silverstrom’s 18.

Coreylayup.jpg

Coming into the tournament as the six seed, the Wildcats beat third, fourth and fifth seed in the tournament, and one seed in four days to come out of the region.

During its previous game before the tournament began, Chico State looked as if they were heading for another disappointing finish in the tournament. They only scored 53 points and lost by 12 to UC San Diego.

However, in the final game of the tournament, they scored 95 points and beat the Tritons by nine.

This is the second time in four years that the ‘Cats have come out of the West Region in the NCAA Championship Tournament. This is also the second time that senior guard Robert Duncan has won the West Region title, making him the only player in Wildcat history to do so.

The ‘Cats hope to continue this streak in the Elite 8 of the tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota March 22. Details on who they will be playing will be released soon.

Patrick Pace can be reached at [email protected] or @patpacesports on Twitter.

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Best ’Cats in the West