Coming off a two-game road trip, the SF State men’s basketball team entered its last homestand poised to avenge a three-point loss suffered earlier in the season to the Humboldt State Lumberjacks.
Humboldt held a 17-point lead in the sixth minute of the first half and a game high 19-point lead in the fifth minute of the second half before eventually defeating the Gators 78-65 Feb. 18.
Last week’s game, in many ways, was similar to the last match up between the two teams. The Gators trailed the Lumberjacks early and often in SF State’s main gymnasium.
“We did not play well,” said senior guard Marquel Hoskins as he wiped blood from his mouth with a towel. “It was a tough loss and we played awful. We did not execute and turned the ball over. Everything that could go wrong went wrong today.”
After clinching a playoff berth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball Championships with a 73-55 victory over Cal State LA and losing to Dominquez Hills 72-68 on Feb. 11-12, the Gators faced the Lumberjacks for the last time this season.
Previously, the Lumberjacks defeated the Gators 73-70 on Jan. 15 and were led by senior forward Brian Morris, who had 23 points and 10 rebounds in the game while sophomore guard Nefi Perdomo and co-captain Hoskins combined to score 40 points.
Hoskins would have a repeat performance on Feb. 18 as he scored 21 points on 6-10 shooting while collecting seven rebounds. However, he also committed seven of the Gators’ season-high 22 turnovers in the game.
According to Hoskins, the team just needs to regroup and bounce back from the tough loss.
“We are still a good team,” he said. “We need to forget about today and take a deep breath. We had an off night. We need to get better and find something else to do in order to score.”
The Lumberjacks opened the game with a 16-7 run and never looked back. They led the entire game, recording 14 steals and scoring 13 second-chance points along with 20 points off Gator turnovers.
“Yeah, what went wrong today were turnovers definitely,” said senior guard and co-captain Phoenix O’Rourke. “We had 14 turnovers in the first half, and we basically shot ourselves in the foot. I know that it was a problem for me because they guarded me tight. We just got away from what we do every night.”
Perdomo was another focal point for the Gators’ offense, as his 18 points and five rebounds through 34 minutes helped the Gators go on a 16-7 run of their own to end the first half, making it a 39-31 game. Unfortunately for the Gators, Perdomo left the game late in the second half with an injury when he was fouled by senior guard Ernie Spada. Senior forwards Tim Pratt and Joshua Hash, who also plays at the guard position, missed the entire game due to injuries.
“With Pratt down, everyone needs to step up,” O’Rourke said. “We need to get contributions in order to challenge teams.”
As in the teams’ last meeting, it was Morris who stepped up: The Lumberjacks’ standout outmatched SF State’s undersized big men and dominated the paint, earning a double-double with 37 points on 15-20 shooting and 10 rebounds.
Morris averages 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season for the Lumberjacks, who are ranked third in the latest NCAA Division II West Regional poll with a 20-2 overall record, and they are in first place in the CCAA at 16-2.
“The big fella had a great game,” said first-year SF State head coach Paul Trevor. “Humboldt played us very well and they took us out of our game. This is probably the toughest loss of my career no doubt.”