A basketball game is often won at the free-throw line when two physical and intense teams combine to commit 40 fouls.
With two minutes and twenty five seconds remaining in the game between the SF State men’s basketball team and the Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes at the main gymnasium Friday night, it all came down to which team would avoid folding under pressure and make some crucial foul shots.
Although the Gators held a late 70-64 lead, the Coyotes slowly climbed their way back into the game. However, SF State eventually sealed the 81-72 victory by knocking down their last nine free throws.
“Well, the right guys went to the free-throw line tonight,” said head coach Paul Trevor. “We practice making free-throws when we are tired and at the end of the game because they are crucial.”
Leading the way for the Gators on Friday was a handful of players including four of their starters, who all scored over 10 points in the game. Senior guards and co-captains, Marquel Hoskins and Phoenix O’Rourke, provided solid play from the backcourt. Sophomore guard Nefi Perdomo and senior forward Tim Pratt, also chipped in with valuable minutes contributing in every phase of the game.
“Our confidence is at an all time high right now,” Hoskins said. “We hold each other accountable and my job is to contribute and give the ball to everybody on the floor.”
Hoskins played the majority of the game and rested for a mere three minutes. In 37 minutes, he scored 13 points, dished out eight assists, and more impressively collected nine rebounds standing at only 5 foot 10 inches.
“We just crashed the boards,” he said. “We weren’t losing the game.”
Hoskins nearly achieved a triple double, which is when a player records double digit figures in three statistical categories whether it is in points, steals, blocks, assists, or rebounds.
Still, ball distribution and shot selection varied for the Gators throughout the game. In the first half, they shot a 40 percent from the field, 30 percent from the three point line, and at halftime held a slim one point lead over the Coyotes.
In the second half, SF State improved their shooting dramatically. They shot 53 percent to end the game and 50 percent from the three point line respectively.
“It’s always good when we make our shots,” said Pratt, who scored 18 points on 6-10 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in the game. “We just get into rhythm and it helps our defense.”
However, with much displeasure from the rambunctious crowd, the story of this game was personal fouls. Cal State San Bernardino attempted 34 foul shots and made only 20 while SF State attempted and made all 19 of their foul shots for the game.
“I thought we were at home,” Hoskins said. “But, we are mentally tough and prepared for the refs and for whatever else is thrown our way.”
The Gators are now 11-6 for the season and are 9-4 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. They are currently in third place in the CCAA behind Humboldt State.