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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Turnovers cause Gators to lose final game of regular season to CSU East Bay

SFSU Men’s Basketball finishes with 17-13 record
Sean Young
San Francisco State University senior forward Jonah Roth high-fives his teammates as he heads to the bench following a shift during the Gators’ loss to the California State University East Bay Pioneers on Feb. 29 at Pioneer Gymnasium in Hayward, California. (Sean Young / Golden Gate Xpress)

A combination of intense physical defense and critical turnovers prevented the San Francisco State University men’s basketball team from finishing the season on a four-game win streak, with a 90-62 loss to the California State University East Bay Pioneers on Feb. 29 at Pioneer Gymnasium in Hayward.

In their final regular season game before the CCAA men’s basketball tournament in San Bernardino, the Gators (17-13) surrendered 19 turnovers to the Pioneers (18-10), resulting in 23 points scored off those turnovers by the Pioneers.

“We didn’t come with a lot of focus,” said Gators head coach Vince Inglima. “We had a really emotionally intense weekend last weekend at home where we had to get both [wins] to make the conference tournament. We secured that seat and I think we kind of took a step backward in that intensity.”

Early in the game, the Gators tied the score at 8-8 following a 3-pointer by guard Alex Gilat, but the Pioneers quickly responded and jumped out to a 10+ point lead and never looked back.

“The physicality at the start just threw us off a little bit,” said guard CJ Bellamy. “They made us turn the ball over.”

The first half ended with the Gators down 40-25, with them only making 31.0% of their baskets, including 3-14 on 3-pointers. The team’s defense also struggled in the first half, with the Gators allowing 48.3% of their opponents’ shots into the basket.

The second half saw the Gators improve their shooting percentage to 46.4%, but it wasn’t enough to dig themselves out from the first-half deficit, losing by 28 points. Forward John Bakke finished the game as the team’s top scorer with 17 points, three assists and six rebounds.

Despite the loss, Inglima was impressed with the grit and the togetherness that the team showed.

“We start and we end with our defense, and when our defense is clicking, our intensity, and we’re hogging the ball and getting clear deflections, and really disrupting [opponents] offense, that generates a lot of our offensive action,” Inglima said. “And so we just got to kind of get back to that.”

Now, the Gators’ focus has shifted to the CCAA tournament. Even though the team will enter the playoffs as the No. 6 seed this year, the Gators have made seven of the last 10 CCAA tournaments, including the championship game in 2017.

“I think going in the tournament, we’re probably one of the most experienced teams, considering we have a lot of returners and older guys that have been around here compared to other teams that are going to be in the playoffs,” said forward John Bakke. “We didn’t really perform how we wanted to, to our full potential throughout the year, but our second half of the season proved what type of team we are and I think it’s [the tournament] pretty wide open for us.” 

Bellamy agreed with Bakke.

“We were in a hole in the beginning of the year. And we mentally stayed together and got out of that hole and put us in this position to actually make the tournament,” Bellamy said. “So, we’ve got to make something happen.”

Game one of the CCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament tournament will see the Gators taking on No.3 seed Cal State LA at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 7, at Coussoulis Arena in San Bernardino.

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Sean Young
Sean Young, Campus Editor
Sean Young (he/him) is the campus editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is a journalism major with a minor in California Studies. Originally from the small town of Sebastopol, Sean now lives in San Francisco. Before transferring to SF State, Sean studied journalism at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he was editor-in-chief of the college's student publication The Oak Leaf News. In his spare time, Sean can be found watching sports, listening to his vinyl record collection and reading the latest news from The New York Times.

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