After a back-and-forth first period that had the Gators down by only one point, the team could not keep up with No. 25 Cal Poly Pomona in the second.
The Gators lost to the defending conference champion Broncos, 62-52 at The Swamp Saturday night.
“We had some looks but we just didn’t knock down any shots,” said head coach Paul Trevor. “It put so much pressure on us defensively and they exploited us in the second half.”
Senior guard Will Overton, Jr. led all scorers with 19 points and nine rebounds and said the team struggled to score in the second period.
“I felt like we got stagnant on offense; we couldn’t really score,” Overton, Jr. said. “We have a bad habit where if we can’t score, we don’t play defense and our hands go down.”
Senior guard Nefi Perdomo finished with 11 points on just 4-19 shooting. Perdomo was the only other Gator to score double figures but went scoreless in the first period.
“It was just one of those games,” Perdomo said. “I’ll do better next time, I just didn’t have a good game.”
The Broncos defense prevented the Gators from going inside, forcing the team to rely on its perimeter shooting. The Gators shot just 28 percent from the field, including 5-30 from the three-point line.
“Our strength all year has been our shooting,” Trevor said. “We’re guard heavy and we shoot the ball well. Tonight we just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities and it really hurt us.”
SF State Gators Erik Fearn (54) and Will Overton, Jr.(15) and Cal Poly Pomona Bronco Jordan Faison (40) jump for a rebound during the men’s basketball game at The Swamp Tuesday, Feb. 15. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress
With 13 minutes left in the game, the Gators were up 34-33 before things started to get out of hand. Turnovers and failed conversions helped the Broncos go on a 14-2 run that put the game out of reach.
Trevor said his players need to focus on the next game and not let the loss get to their heads.
“We talk about it as a chance to grow, get better,” Trevor said. “Don’t hang your heads, be proud of how hard you worked and focus on the next stop in the journey.”
Senior guard Bennie Rhodes injured his hand early on in the first period and did not return to the game.
The loss ended the Gators’ three-game win streak, its longest of the season. The team still remains in a three-way tie for fourth place in the CCAA.
The team’s next pair of games will be next weekend Feb. 21-22 as the Gators travel to face UC San Diego and No. 12 Cal State San Bernardino.