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Golden Gate Xpress

Gators eliminated in first round of CCAA Division II tournament

A lack of rhythm proves costly for SFSU against CSULA in season-ending defeat
Kathia Noriega
Donovan Cooks takes a shot during the first half of the CCAA Division II basketball tournament quarter-finals on March 7, 2024. (Kathia Noriega/Golden Gate Xpress)

Constant turnovers and a slow start were too much for the San Francisco State University men’s basketball team, which suffered a season-ending 84-62 loss against California State University, Los Angeles during the CCAA Division II tournament on Thursday night. 

The Gators came into the postseason as the No. 6 seed and faced the No. 3 seed, CSULA, in the tournament hosted by California State University, San Bernardino. After facing off against CSULA in numerous in-season matches, the Gators failed to leverage their experience to gain the upper hand in the much-anticipated game. 

Gators head coach Vince Inglima was ready for this game and prepared the team for any surprises. He used the previous games against CSULA to take this game from them but wasn’t able to catch up as SFSU started with a shaky start when they weren’t able to come up with big plays to even up the score. 

“In the big game, I think we also didn’t play particularly well and couldn’t take advantage of that,” Inglima said. “We played really sloppy with the ball and kind of fed into their transition baskets, which was going to be a big aspect of what we were trying to do.”

SFSU basketball head coach Vince Inglima speaks to the team during a timeout on March 7, 2024, after the team was 20 points behind at the CCAA Division II basketball tournament quarter-finals. (Kathia Noriega/Golden Gate Xpress) (Kathia Noriega)

CSULA had the lead throughout the entire game as they continued to force turnovers, constantly taking the ball away from SFSU as much as possible. During the short chances when SFSU had the ball, they weren’t able to come up with anything.

Senior forward Jonah Roth had high expectations for the team and anticipated a bigger celebration at the end of his final season. However, he noticed the team’s struggle during this final game and was not happy with the results.

“I was really excited to play in this tournament because last year I was injured so I don’t think I played particularly great today,” Roth said. “I had a lot of turnovers but I think I’m proud of my effort.”

Roth finished the night with 11 points, nine rebounds and four turnovers.

CSULA took advantage of their defense as they were able to score 30 points from turnovers. The Gators continued to miss timely shots, allowing CSULA to record 28-for-32 in free throws.

Forward Jailen Daniel-Dalton was equally upset with the loss after all the preparation that went into this game. He noticed the upper hand that the No. 3 seed had to take that game away from them, even though the first half closed with only a six-point deficit, at 33-39.

“They’re a good team,” Daniel-Dalton said. “They’re above us in the conference standings but one thing they do really well is they turn teams over and they’ll just sit down and wait for you to mess up and capitalize on it, and that’s what they did today on every single one of our turnovers.”

While scoring 10 points with nine rebounds, Daniel-Dalton wasn’t able to brew anything up from deep, going 0-for-4 from beyond the three-point range. 

Despite the loss, Inglima is still proud of the team that they built this year. The team will be losing two graduating seniors from the team and will be taking advantage of the younger team in the following season.

“We’re happy that we’re here a lot,” Inglima said. “Half the league does not make it here. This is an incredibly challenging conference with great teams top to bottom. That’s a credit to our guys and how hard they work and compete […] day in and day out, and it’s credit to the leadership.”

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Kathia Noriega
Kathia Noriega, Staff Reporter
Kathia Noriega (she/her) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. She is a journalism major and was born in Redwood City but grew up in San Mateo, California. Kathia enjoys watching baseball and sports highlights in her spare time which sparked her joy for writing about sports. Before transferring to SFSU, she attended Skyline College and wrote for the student newspaper, The Skyline View. Kathia loves listening to music 24/7 and if you happen to catch her listening to music, it’s probably either J.Cole or Bad Bunny.

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