SF State’s men’s basketball team had a strong showing against the Dominican University of California which landed them back to back wins and a impressive 2-0 start to their 2016-17 season after a 91-67 victory in the finale of the San Francisco State Tip-Off Classic.
Trailing by six points early in the 1st half, the Gators regrouped and refocused, outscoring the Penguins by 21 points to end the half 38-23.
“We responded, made some good adjustments on their pressure and we build the lead, which we wanted to do,” said head coach Paul Trevor.
The Gators began the second half strong, leading by 17 points but the Penguins made a 10-2 run, including back-to-back threes, which help cut the lead down to nine. The Gators didn’t panic, they quickly regained their rhythm by creating turnovers.They led by as many 26 points in the second half.
“It’s hard to play with the lead. They were pressing, trapping and wanted to make the game as ugly as possible,” Trevor said. “We called a couple of timeouts, we calmed it down, we tooked what they gave us and we built the lead up.”
The Gators’ top scorers were led by their backcourt Warren Jackson, Parker U’u and Coley Apsay. They combined for 50 points, with Jackson’s 18 leading the way for the Gators. Chiefy Ugbaja, guard/forward, contributed to the mix with a solid all-around performance of 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks.
Jackson said their defensive intensity was the key to their victory.
“Our key was holding them to 30 percent from the three point lines,” Jackson said. “We stayed good on defense and that helped us win.”
Ugbaja added that the ability to stay mentally prepared after a back-to-back game proved beneficial.
“Defense is a big part but I also think that just keeping our mentality right, because our bodies were tight after last night game,” Ugbaja said. “We were mentally tough when they were on their run. We stayed with it and weathered the storm.”
Trevor credited the team’s early success to the performance of his guards.
“We have two returning guards that are outstanding in Jackson and Apsay,” Trevor said. “We simplified our system offensively a little bit this year to put the ball on their hand and let them excel. That was our concept and now that we done that, they’re taking off with it.”
The Gators will play their first road game against Western Oregon University in the WOU/Doubletree by Hilton D2 Shootout on Nov 18.