Gators win pendulum game against Toros

SF State Gators' junior guard Warren Jackson drives in while guarded by CAL State Dominguez Hills Toros' junior guard Khalil Bedart-Ghani during the Gators' 78-68 win over the Toros at Swamp in San Francisco on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (Lee Kin/ Xpress)

SF State men’s basketball held on to their winning streak, conquering Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros 78-68 Friday night.

The packed house at the Swamp witnessed a tense game that saw multiple lead changes and random swings of momentum.

Both teams started the game sluggish with neither setting an offensive tone and several missed turnovers and layups from both teams.

The Toros went on a 7-0 run midway through the first half to take the lead. With key contributor Chiefy Ugbaja, sophomore forward, in foul trouble, the Gators had to adjust their rotation to stay within striking distance of the lead.

“In the first half, the game was so close. I had to keep Chiefy on the bench so that he wouldn’t pick up a third foul,” head coach Paul Trevor said. “It paid off because he was able to play aggressively in the second half with just two fouls.”

The Gators ended up taking a one-point lead into halftime, but it became evident that adjustments needed to be made in order to hang onto the lead to ultimately win.

“They were physical with us and we were kind of shying away from the contact hoping the refs would bail us out,” junior guard Warren Jackson said.

The Gators reset during halftime and Ugbaja started off the second half intensely with five points on the board. Without the burden of foul trouble hanging over his head, he was able to bring the energy that ultimately led to a win.

“I got two quick fouls and coach pulled me because that’s one of the thing I always do,” Ugbaja said. “ I just wanted to bring energy to my team in the second half.”

Ugbaja’s energy in the second half spread through the team like the plague, with senior forward Derrick Brown shot a perfect 4/4 from the field, scoring 10 points within 14 minutes.

“Derrick Brown stepped up big time tonight,” Trevor said. “He hit some big shots and made some plays.”

The Gators stretched their winning streak, making their record 21-3, and will look to finish their regular season with a final win on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against California State University, Los Angeles at the Swamp.