It was a packed house at the Swamp Gymnasium, and the purple-clad home crowd chanted “Let’s go Gators!” and “San Francisco,” but that wasn’t enough for the SF State men’s basketball team to retain their unblemished 5-0 record.
The Gators had their first televised game of the year, and their hope of an undefeated season was spoiled by a 74-67 California State University, Chico comeback victory.
The Gators started off strong and led by as many as 12 points in the first half. They had the lead throughout most of the game, but head coach Paul Trevor said a lack of high energy and minor mistakes down the stretch allowed the Wildcats to come back and secure the win.
“We had some breakdowns — it might have been fatigue,” Trevor said. “We made some mistakes and lazy passes, and they capitalized on it. We weren’t really efficient with the ball late in the game, and soon as we did that they jumped on us.”
The key to SF State’s first-half success was shooting from beyond the arc. The Gators were on fire from the 3-point range, making seven of 11. They failed to maintain their shooting in the second half, missing nine of 14 attempts.
Trevor said the offensive struggles in the second half were due to the Wildcats switching to a zone defense.
“They pushed out,” Trevor said. “They went to their zone and extended it far out. They kept jumping lanes; there were big gaps and we weren’t penetrating the zone well enough.”
SF State guards Coley Apsay and Nick Calcaterra each made three shots from downtown. Apsay finished with a team-high 13 points, and Calcaterra added nine.
Trevor said it was a very disappointing loss, but he was proud of how his team played.
“I’m very proud of them,” Trevor said. “I thought we competed. I guarantee you we will regroup and we’ll get better.”
The Gators star center Floyd Wormley had a quiet scoring night with three points but was huge with ball movement. He recorded a game-high seven assists and led the team with 37 minutes on the floor.
“They were guarding me pretty tight, so every time I drive I feel like someone is collapsing on me,” Wormely said. “My teammates were open, so I was hitting on them and they were making their shots.”
Despite the loss, the Gators said they remain optimistic about their season.
“It’s a long year and it’s a long journey,” Trevor said. “You have to know what it feels like to lose to appreciate winning.”
The Gators are now 5-1, with a game coming up against California State University, Stanislaus.