The San Francisco State Tip-off classic opened up with the Gators winning their season opener with a decisive 84-69 win over the Academy of Arts.
The Gators started off strong and led by as many as 14 points in the first half. They maintained the lead throughout most of the game by dominating the Urban Knights in rebounds, fast break points and points in the paint, which was the gameplan according to head coach Paul Trevor.
“I was pleased with them I thought we shared the ball really well today,” said Trevor. “The second half we got a little quick and took some quick shots which allowed them to make a run but overall good performance to get a win.”
The Gators got their offense going early, shooting 46 percent in the first half and took a 43-31 lead to halftime. In the second half the Academy of Art cut their deficit to four with under seven minutes to go, but SF State held them off with a 15-2 run in the next five minutes to seal the victory over the Urban Knights.
“Basketball is a game of runs I knew they were going to make a run at the end,” said senior guard Coley Apsay. “I just wanted my guys to know we had to be good on defense because defense leads to offense for us.”
SF State’s defense was all over the floor, recording eight steals and seven blocks. It wasn’t just the defense that played a role in this win, the Gators offense had four players score in double figures. Coley Apsay led the way with 19 points and was followed by Warren Jackson’s 18. Nick Calcaterra contributed with 14 points, while senior center AJ Kahlon recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“I didn’t realize how hard it was to get a double double,” Kahlon said. “But now that I know what I got to do to maintain that level. I’m pretty happy right now.”
Trevor kept his team fresh by playing 12 players and was happy the Gators were able to close the game out.
“I thought it was good for us to learn how to play with the lead late in the game,” Trevor said. “If we would have just rolled over we wouldn’t have learned anything from it but we did and it will make us better.”
SF State faces off against the Dominican University of California on Saturday in what will be the championship game of the San Francisco State Tip-Off Classic.