Veteran players receive high honors in conference

SF State Gators player Udun Osakue ,#21, dribbles past the San Bernardino Coyotes defenseman Gilbert Parga ,#1, during a game at the Gators home on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. (Sara Gobets / Xpress)
SF State Gators player Udun Osakue ,#21, dribbles past the San Bernardino Coyotes defenseman Gilbert Parga ,#1, during a game at the Gators home on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. (Sara Gobets / Xpress)

SF State Gators player Udun Osakue ,#21, dribbles past the San Bernardino Coyotes defenseman Gilbert Parga ,#1, during a game at the Gators home on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. (Sara Gobets / Xpress)

Despite a 2014-2015 season where the SF State Gators men’s basketball team went below .500 in the win-loss column, seniors Bren Haley and Udun Osakue wrapped up their basketball career with All-California Collegiate Athletic Association awards.

Osakue is the second Gator in a row to be given first team honors, following Nefi Perdomo, who received the same honors the previous season. He played in all 26 games this year and grabbed 5.2 rebounds per game. The forward’s 14.3 points per game earned him the seventh ranked spot in the CCAA Conference.

“It means a lot because you put in a lot of time and a lot of effort into it and it’s a good accomplishment,” Osakue said. “It’s a good award and I’m really proud of it and my teammates really helped me along. I couldn’t do it on my own.”

Starting point guard Haley finished up his senior year with an All-CCAA honorable mention, with a 7.8 points and 5.0 average assists per game to rank him first in the CCAA Conference.

“I’m thankful to get some type of individual award,” Haley said. “You put a lot of work into the sport your whole life especially your senior year.”

The Gators finished the season 11-15 overall including a 1-11 record for games away from The Swamp. The team’s inability to win away from the confines of the home court hindered their chances of making the CCAA playoffs.

SF State Gator basketball player Bren Haley,#3, drives the ball down the court past Academy of Arts Urban Knights player Sergio Valdeolmilos ,#10, during a game at SF State Tuesday Nov. 25, 2014. (Sara Gobets / Xpress)

SF State Gator basketball player Bren Haley,#3, drives the ball down the court past Academy of Arts Urban Knights player Sergio Valdeolmilos ,#10, during a game at SF State Tuesday Nov. 25, 2014. (Sara Gobets / Xpress)

“You have to play better on the road because you don’t have that energy that the fans provide for you at home,” said head coach Paul Trevor. “So you have to provide that energy, you have to play smarter on the road and make better decisions. You have to execute better and I think we had a hard time doing that and learning that.”

Despite their away game record, the Gators utilized Trevor’s full-court pressure strategy to rank 15th nationally in scoring defense, which held opponents to an average of 62.9 points per game.

“What we do defensively is very complex,” Trevor said. “I think having a new group, you’re going to have ups and downs with it, especially early. But it really developed and now a lot of guys returning know what to do to get it done defensively and it should bode well for our future.

The Gators fell three spots shy to make the CCAA playoffs finishing ninth in the division. Next year’s team will be without seniors Haley, Osakue and point guard Sam Colmenero, who contributed minutes off the bench.

Trevor said he looks to use the experience the young players took from this season and hopes the team will take that next step to improve offensively. The Gators shot a 42 percent on the field with a low 30 percent from behind the arc.

“We need to shoot the ball at a higher percentage, and be more efficient offensively,” Trevor said. “We could not score the basketball and we need to be a better scoring basketball team because if you can score, it’ll take a little pressure off of our defense. We have to become more efficient offensively and it’ll help us defensively, I’m sure.”