No. 10 Wildcats suffer third loss of the season against rival Broncos


Javier Hernandez

Wildcat forwards Malik Duffy and Kelvin Wright Jr. making their entrance prior to their game against the Broncos on 2/3/22

The California Collegiate Athletic Association race is heating up and the No. 10 Wildcats are right in the mix of things. 

Chico State Men’s Basketball currently sits at third place in the standings, just one game behind the No. 3 San Bernardino Coyotes and the No. 9 San Marcos Cougars. 

The Wildcats are back at Acker Gym after a four-game road trip, where they went 3-1. 

They hosted the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos, a huge boost for the host Wildcats, as Acker Gym is going to be open to fans. 

This will be the first home game the Wildcats have their fans by their side since Jan. 2, due to COVID regulations. 

Head coach Greg Clink said the atmosphere was great at Acker due to the return of fans. 

“The fans were awesome tonight,” Clink said. “I wish we had played better for them, their energy was great as always.”

 As the team made their anticipated return to the court, the Wildcats faithfully cheered “Let’s Go Chico.”

The game started off slow for both teams, but at the 12 minute mark, starting junior guard Joshua Hamilton picked up his second foul in less than 10 minutes. 

As a result  freshman Evan Oliver played early and often for the Wildcats.

“My teammates have all the confidence in me to make plays whenever I am in,” Oliver said. “I give it my all whenever I’m out on the court.”

After 20 minutes of play the Wildcats were down 23-27. They were held to 30% shooting from the field and 21% shooting from beyond the arc. 

After a 9-0 run from senior guard Isaiah Brooks in the second half, the Wildcats would regain the lead 41-40. 

After a 3-point shot from the Broncos, the Wildcats would go down 58-68, their biggest deficit of the game with three minutes remaining in the second half. 

Clutch shots from Brooks and senior forward Malik Duffy would close the gap and bring the Wildcats closer. The Wildcats trailed 67-70 with 20 seconds remaining in the game, with a  chance to tie the game.

The Broncos suffocated the Wildcats, and forced them to put up a contested 3-point shot to attempt to tie the game.

The shot was short and the Wildcats would lose 67-71, moving to 13-3 on the season. 

Despite the loss, the Wildcats stayed in third place in the CCAA standings. The No. 3 Coyotes come into town on Saturday. 

A big match up for the CCAA rankings and the Division 2 rankings, in their earlier match up in San Bernardino the Wildcats drained a school-best 19 3-pointers and would defeat the Coyotes.

Clink said their defense has to be better for them to take down the Coyotes again.

“We were inconsistent with our defensive execution,” Clink said. “We did not play defense like we are capable of doing.”

Brooks said anything is possible if the team is more dialed in and plays defense confidently.

“We stack all our chips on the defensive end,” Brooks said. “As long as I am locked in with my team, anything is possible.”
Javier Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter.