Chico struggles defensively in CCAA opener


Isaiah Brooks brings the ball up the floor against Stanislaus State. Photo credit: Wesley Harris

Chico State men’s basketball exciting start would not prevail in their home California Collegiate Athletic Association opener Thursday night. Defense is normally something the Wildcats can hang their hat on, but they could not stop the bleeding late into the matchup.

“We got to come in every game with 40 minutes of defense,” Malik Duffy said. “It’s not 20, it’s not 15, it can’t be 35. CCAA is like the toughest league out here, so we have to come and be ready to play.”

Duffy seemed like the only offensive spark for the Wildcats finishing with 18 points with 9 points being three pointers. Kevin Warren was the second leading scorer for the team with ten.

“The beginning was kind of slow, but I just tried to stay aggressive and positive,” Duffy said. “In that second half I got my shot going. My teammates got me open looks, so I just shot the open shot…”

Chico exploded out for a 5-0 start, beginning with an opening possession jam down the middle of the lane for Justin Briggs. The excitement in Acker Gymnasium would quickly be silenced as Stanislaus went on an eight point swing in the early part of the first half.

The Wildcats were left trailing the rest of the night. They shot themselves in the foot with a 5-16 from the free throw line. Leaving points on the board would have been the easy correction for the third win for Chico.

Malik Duffy makes a move in the post Thursday night. Photo credit: Wesley Harris

The Wildcats trailed by as many as eight points in the second half, but would see a hopeful light breaking a 10-3 run. The Wildcats forced turnovers, turning into easy transition buckets on the opposite end.

Stanislaus responded to the run with poised, methodical shots on their side. Justin Briggs did not have the showing he hoped for, as he fouled out the game in the last five minutes of the half. Late three point shots from Duffy kept the match interesting but would not be enough to turn the tide.

“We get a good sleep tonight,” Duffy said. “Come into practice tomorrow, watch film on the game. Move on, watch film on Eastbay and have a good shootaround Saturday and hopefully go 1-1 for the week. We just have to stay positive as a team and stay together.”

Wesley Harris can be reached at [email protected] or @jiggy_wes on twitter.