No. 10 Wildcats sweep season series against the No. 3 Coyotes


Javier Hernandez

Kevin Warren celebrating after an and-one opportunity against the Coyotes on 2/4/22.

Head coach Greg Clink wasn’t happy with the Chico State Men’s Basketball team’s effort and intensity after their loss against the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos.

Clink said the competitive level showed up during the game today.

“We had an honest and critical film session after the Pomona game,” Clink said. “The thing I love about this team is that they respond when adversity hits.”

The No. 10 Wildcats needed to bring their A-game, as the No. 3 San Bernardino Coyotes were in town. The Wildcats were the only team to leave a blemish on the Coyotes near-perfect record, as they defeated them 99-90 in Rohnert Park on Dec. 2, 2021.

Although the Coyotes gave the Wildcats a scare, it wasn’t enough, as the Wildcats are still the only team to beat the Coyotes this season. 

After a made shot by senior forward Malik Duffy, the Wildcats would go up 16-4 in the first half. The Coyotes would call a timeout and Acker Gym would erupt with people cheering. 

The Wildcats’ lead in the first half would go as high as 16 points. Going into half, the Wildcats led the Coyotes 34-20. 

They limited the California Collegiate Athletic Association leading scoring offense to just 20 points in the first half. 

The Wildcats’ smothering defense would limit the Coyotes to 22% from the field and just 7% from beyond the arc. 

After a shot made by junior forward Kelvin Wright Jr. in the second half, the Wildcats had their biggest lead at 38-21. 

Despite the big lead, this game was far from over. The Coyotes were the No. 3 team for a reason. 

The Wildcats’ lead was trimmed down to 65-63 with less than 40 seconds left in the game. 

Junior guard Colby Orr missed a potential game clinching jumper, but that didn’t stop him from making the play of the game. 

After his miss, Orr got between multiple Coyote defenders and snatched the offensive rebound out of their hands.

He would dribble his way out of traffic and would hand senior guard Isaiah Brooks the ball. The Coyotes would have to foul and pray for a miss.

Orr said after he missed the shot he knew he had to fight for a rebound to help secure the win for the team.

“I had a chance to get it and did my best to secure the rebound,” Orr said. “I got it to Brooks and he did a great job of hitting the free throws.” 

Brooks hit the first free throw and the Coyotes would use their last timeout to try to “ice” him. 

This didn’t phase Brooks, and after the timeout he said “game time” as the ball released out of his hands and he sank the game clinching shot.

The Wildcats defeated the Coyotes 67-63. That was the second-lowest total points the Coyotes have scored all season, which was 22 points below their average of 85 points per game. 

Senior guard Kevin Warren said it started with their defense. He had the tough job of guarding Brandon Knapper, who leads CCAA in scoring with 19.5 points per game, but the Wildcats held him to six points on 1% shooting and 0% from beyond the arc. 

“I tried to make it tough on him whenever he got the ball,” Warren said. “I had to make sure he didn’t get a rhythm early.” 

The Wildcats were led by Duffy with 22 points and 7 rebounds. Duffy said he used the Coyotes man-to-man defense to his advantage whenever he was in the post.

“Anytime I would get a one on one in the post, I knew it was time to go to work,” Duffy said. 

The Wildcats improved to 14-3 on the season and the Wildcats are now just one win behind the Coyotes and No. 9 San Marcos Cougars in the CCAA standings. 

Brooks said coming up big in these big games comes down to his experience within the program.

“We have been before and know how to act in these moments,” Brooks said.

The Wildcats return to Acker on Feb. 10 to host the Monterey Bay Otters at 7:30 p.m., a team they lost to earlier this season 61-64 in Seaside. 

Clink said he talked to the team after the game about moving forward in their season. 

“If we can get the same mindset we had for this game for the next six games, great things will happen,” Clink said.

Duffy also hit another milestone during the game, as he became the ninth Wildcat to ever eclipse the 1,000 points along with 500 rebounds. 

“I just give it my all whenever I’m out on the court,” Duffy said. 
Javier Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter.