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The Orion

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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Wildcats struggle for open shots in loss to San Francisco State

Sophomore Justin Briggs avoids defense and finds an open shot in a Chico’s playoff matchup against Cal State San Bernardino last season in this archived image. Photo credit: Kate Angeles

Chico State men’s basketball labored for open gaps in Saturday’s 65-49 loss to San Francisco State. This would only be the second game of the season for the Wildcats after having their first five games cancelled due to the Campfire.

Chico State entered San Francisco after falling to UC San Diego in their season opener. San Francisco State has been shutting teams down, possessing the top ranked defense in the CCAA and a 4-2 record before the game. The lack of game time and overall togetherness for Chico State due to the cancellations in their early season was evident in the match-up.

“Every team handles adversity throughout the season and ours just came a little earlier,” Nate Ambrosini said. “We’ll go into next week ready to work on what we need to improve and get better as a team.”

San Francisco State’s on ball pressure flustered Chico State early on. The Wildcats were held to only 24 percent shooting from the field through the first half. With its offense seeking open gaps, Chico still found ways to get to the free throw line in the bonus. Seven of their 22 first half points came from the free throw line, while being held to only 1-11 shooting from the three point line.

“Better looks comes with all of us individually getting in the gym and putting up shots, so that in real game situations, we are well prepared and it becomes second nature,” Justin Briggs said. “We also need to do a little better playing as a team.”

The second half featured much of the same dysfunctional play from the offense. Chico State slightly improved its shooting from the field with 10 of their 30 attempts made. They had a difficult matchup on their hands with San Francisco State’s point guard Jiday Ugbaja dropping in 16 points from all spots on the court.

“(Coach Clink) felt that the defensive effort was there and that there were moments where we showed we could play great defensively,” Ambrosini said. “We just need to have that the whole game and not let our offensive struggles affect our defense.”

Chico State had no players with double digit scoring numbers. Point guard Isaiah Brooks led with nine points, and Malik Duffy pulled down nine rebounds. The Wildcats fall to 0-2 and will look to improve their record in their home opener against Stanislaus State on Thursday night.

“What is important is focusing on getting better at playing together as well as a skilled Stanislaus team coming in Thursday,” Briggs said. “Are we gonna back down or come back defending our home court strong? It will be interesting.”

Wesley Harris can be reached at [email protected] and @flacko_flame on twitter.

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