Struggling from behind the arc, the Gators needed another option to score against the Golden Eagles. Senior big man Max Fodor was that option.
Fodor took advantage of his size, leading the team with 15 points and crashing the boards on both ends to grab a game-high 10 rebounds to help give the Gators a 63-58 win against Cal State L.A. at The Swamp Saturday.
With the Golden Eagles close to the lead, trailing 51-50 with 7:32 left in the game, Fodor scored on back-to-back buckets, helping the Gators outscore CSULA 12-8 the rest of the way.
“It was all really give-and-go’s for me, just a lot of hustle plays trying to get rebounds, trying to do things that we always preach in practice,” Fodor said. “I tried to do all that today and play really hard and it worked out pretty well for me.”
The Gators shot 2-18 from the three-point line; well below their 35 percent season average. Senior guards Nefi Perdomo and Will Overton, Jr. both scored nine points apiece and senior guard Bennie Rhodes and junior forward Udun Osakue each chipped in with eight.
“It was a very important game because we’re fighting for a playoff spot so everybody’s just trying to give it all they got,” Perdomo said.
Senior guard Quinton Watkins led the Golden Eagles with 16 points. After going 0-4 on three-pointers in the first period, Watkins heated up in the second, hitting three straight three-pointers before missing his last two attempts. He finished 3-9 on threes for the day.
“L.A.’s got one of the best players in the league in Watkins and he can shoot it from anywhere,” said head coach Paul Trevor. “We had to do some things to get his rhythm away.”
The Gators played a lot of press against the Golden Eagles, forcing a total of 12 turnovers and nabbing six steals.
“We press a lot,” Trevor said. “It increases energy, we’re more focused when we’re active so it really helps us defend at a higher level.”
SF State defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills 70-57 the night before to sweep their weekend home games.
Perdomo led the team with 24 points on 8-10 shooting, which included six three-pointers and three assists. The pair of victories over the weekend gives the team its second win streak of the season.
“We’ve been really trying to string wins together,” said Trevor. “We haven’t been able to do it most of the year and tonight was an opportunity finally that we are home.”
The win against the Golden Eagles improved the Gators record to 9-7 in the CCAA and pushed them into a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference along with Cal State L.A. and Cal State Stanislaus.
The team will host two more games at The Swamp this weekend, Feb. 14-15, against Humboldt University and No. 18 ranked Cal Poly Pomona.