The No. 11 Wildcats prance on the Toros to win their fifth straight


Javier Hernandez

Wildcat Wright Jr. on Feb. 24 against the Toros.

Junior guard Colby Orr broke a defender on his way to hit a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a comfortable lead to secure the win. Chico State Men’s Basketball, who are freshly off being ranked as No .1 in the west region, dominated the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros.

The No. 1 seed for each region gets to host the regional part of the NCAA tournament. 

A fun fact about the Toros: forward Andre Ball is cousins with current NBA players LaMelo and Lonzo Ball.

The Toros started off hot hitting their first three shots to go up 7-0 within the first few minutes of the first half.

Sophomore forward Breenan Wheeler said they just had to weather the storm as the Toros started off by making their shots.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” Wheeler said. “They went on their run early and we were able to answer.”

Regaining their California Collegiate Player of the week, senior forward Malik Duffy would hit a 3-pointer to cut the Toros run short. 

The Toros kept rallying and gained their biggest advantage at 16-7 with 13 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats then locked in and went on an impressive 27-5 run, giving them a 34-21 lead with two minutes remaining in the first half. 

Sophomore forward Kelvin Wright Jr. said this run was made possible by head coach Greg Clink’s instructions during the timeouts.

“He gave us a pep talk,” Wright Jr. said. “We just turn it up and get right to it.”

The Toros closed the half on a 8-2 run, closing the gap on the Wildcats’ lead to 36-29. Duffy had already put up 17 points by the end of the first half. 

After back-to-back buckets from senior guard Kevin Warren and Wright Jr., the Wildcats pushed their lead to 47-34 with 16 minutes remaining in the second half. 

Three minutes later, a jumper from Duffy gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at 56-38.

The Wildcats cruised their way to a 77-61 victory over the Toros. Duffy led the way with a season high of 27 points, Warren added another 20 points and Wright Jr. recorded his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. 

The Wildcats defense had come to play once again, as they held the Toros to 37% from the field and 31% from beyond the arc.

Clink said defense is the key to success for the Wildcats.

“We talk about it every single day and work on it every single day,” Clink said. “Defense will always be the number one emphasis on this program and we are constantly a great defensive team.” 

Despite having an impressive game, Wright Jr. said he is not a big stat guy.

“I just play how I play,” Wright Jr. said. “I do my best in giving my team the best chance to win.”

Duffy said his big night can be credited to his teammates for finding him when open and using the Toros’ own game plan against them.

He said he saw his first three shots go in, which gave him confidence for the rest of the game.

“They weren’t doubling the post, and I used that to my advantage,” Duffy said. 

Chico State Men’s Basketball will host the East Bay Pioneers in Acker Gym at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 26. This will be their last regular season game of the year. Prior to the game seniors Isaiah Brooks, Joshua Curls, Malik Duffy, Colby Orr and Kevin Warren will be celebrated during their senior night.

Duffy said the goal is to send the seniors off on a good note.

“It is our last guaranteed home game, like I always say, we just have to stick together and have fun,” Duffy said. 
Javier Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @jhm1226 on Twitter