SF State let their 10 points lead slip away early in the second half against Pacific Union, but the Gators were unwilling to leave their opening night with a loss and pulled out a 67-63 overtime victory, Saturday.
After a strong first half, the Gators looked to be too much for the Pioneers. They were forcing turnovers that led to quick baskets and applied full court pressure throughout the game, but the lack of defensive intensity in the second half allowed the Pioneers to close the gap.
Center Floyd Wormley said the team didn’t play with enough intensity to start the second half.
“We had a slow start then coach called a timeout,”Wormley said. “He told us we need to get some intensity and play with some pride, and that’s what we did.”
Wormely played a big role in the Gators’ hot start by scoring the first two field goals for the team. He played a team high 37 minutes and had a solid all-around performance with 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Defense came up huge when the Gators needed it the most. During a Pioneer’s possession when SF State was down by one with less than 10 seconds to go, point guard Warren Jackson made one of biggest defensive plays of the game with a steal.
“We knew we had to get a steal. If we didn’t get a steal we would have to foul them,” said Jackson. “So basically, we were pressuring them and I end up getting a steal,”
Jackson was able to draw a foul and had a chance to put the Gators up by one with eight seconds to go but only made one out of two free throws, which led to overtime.
“I wish I could have made that free throw,” Jackson said.
Jackson scored 12 points and recorded two steals. He made a lot of big plays down the stretch for his team including a huge three pointer that put the Gators up by four points late in overtime.
Head coach Paul Trevor believes that securing a close win early in the year will benefit his team as the season continues.
“It was really good for us to have a close game,” Trevor said. “We haven’t worked on a lot of those situation and haven’t been in any tight games yet, but we made some plays.”
The Gators will have a lot of time to rest and recover before their next game on the road against Academy of Art on Nov. 20.