Nothing less than a triple overtime gauntlet victory would have done justice to the SF State men’s basketball team on senior night.
The Gators defeated the Sonoma State Seawolves 80-76, clinching a playoff berth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.
Floyd Wormley, Andre Jones, Jon McMurry and Justice Howard, all seniors, were honored before tipoff for their last ever game at The Swamp.
“If there was any way I wanted to go out, it was just like this,” Wormley said. “We grinded it out and got the win. It was a beautiful, beautiful game.”
Wormley was one of the top performers for the Gators, with 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists on the night. He also hit a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to go in the second overtime period to tie the game at 69, which sent the game into its third installment of overtime.
“The second (Wormley) had the ball, I was yelling at him to shoot it,” McMurry said. “I was almost on the court getting a technical. When that went in I was hyped.”
The Gators shot only 33 percent from the field in the game, but head coach Paul Trevor said there were two key things that kept them in the contest despite the poor shooting.
“We preach two things to win games when we aren’t shooting well, and that’s to defend and play with toughness,” Trevor said. “That means doing the little things, like diving for a loose ball or fighting for a rebound.”
Defense closed out the game for the Gators when guard Treaven Duffy flew to the ground to deflect a bounce pass to Sonoma State center Luke Cochran. With 12 seconds left, Duffy snagged the loose ball and called a timeout, which sealed the victory for the Gators.
“I was so proud of (Duffy),” Trevor said. “I thought, ‘He just won the game for us,’ and he did the little things that we’ve been preaching, like diving after loose balls.”
Trevor said he wanted to cry after the emotional win, but had to remain tough for his guys. In a moment of reflection, an emotional Jones said he wouldn’t have wanted his career to end any differently.
“I’ve been here for five years, and came onto the team as a walk-on,” Jones said. “To be around these guys, and this group, my last year – I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
The Gators still have two regular season games left on their schedule. Both games are on the road, the first against 13th-ranked UC San Diego Saturday, Feb. 27. The last game of the Gators’ season will be against Cal State San Bernardino Sunday, Feb. 28.