The SF State men’s basketball team pulled off an impressive victory Saturday, Feb. 2 at home against California State Dominguez Hills, trouncing the Toros 86-64.
The Gators dominated Dominguez Hills from the jump, leading by as many as 18 points within the first eight minutes. They opened the game with a barrage of 3-pointers, led by the tune of Senior Ryne Williams’ 3-of-4 shooting from deep.
Noting the two teams’ last contest ended in a 10-point defeat, Williams credits Saturday’s success to the team playing hard and striving to live up to its potential.
“Man, this game we came out with some intensity, we really came out with a purpose,” he said. “When we [played them last] we came out really sluggish, really slow and we did not play to our potential.”
Head coach Vince Inglima said, “Dominguez is a really good team and that was our worst conference loss down there, but I think there is an element of pride to that, we took that to heart.”
“We felt like, although they are very good, we didn’t make them earn that win over us… So, at the end of this one, yeah, it was a big deal that we may lose, but we better make them beat us — and that was kind of the attitude we came in and it showed on the court.”
Dominguez Hills blitzed the Gators in their own right, cutting the big lead down to three in the first two minutes of the second half. After a timeout, the Gators responded well by not allowing the Toros to score and adding nine points to their lead in just three minutes.
Overall, the Gators punished the Toros in the paint with 36 points to their 18. Although both teams coughed up the ball 15 times, the Gators took advantage by scoring 25 points compared to the Toros’ 13 points off turnovers.
“We’re a very different team than when we played them before,” Inglima said. “We’re in a better place as a unit, we’re playing harder, we’re defending harder… and I think that showed tonight.”
The Gators had an incredible shooting night, boasting 58.8 percent from beyond the arc and 57.1 percent from the field, led by junior Jase Wickliffe’s 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
“We put a lot of shooters on the court, that helps,” Inglima said when asked about shot making and spacing. “Part of it too is defensively, when we’re guarding, getting stops, long rebounds and turnovers, it’s really hard for the defense to match up with all our shooters out there and I think that played a factor early because we were really disrupting them and creating some kind of transition opportunities that gave us some good looks.”
In the midst of the offensive prowess, junior forward Zane Paddon picked up an odd technical foul early in the first half. He said, “One of the guys, who was boxing me out, kept pushing me in the back, so I turned around and said to the ref, ‘Hey! He’s pushing me in the back every time!’ I kind of yelled it, so I guess that’s where he called the tech, but that’s all I said.”
The Gators, indeed, defended The Swamp with some aggressiveness, which is always fun to watch.
“A -point win is always fun, clearing out the bench — you know, we got a lot of players hurt right now and we’re kind of struggling with that, but it’s always nice to get some bench guys in and give them some minutes and have fun with it,” Ryne Williams said.
SF State will return to action and take on the Sonoma State Seawolves on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 3 p.m in The Swamp, finishing out their three-game homestretch that started with Cal State LA last Thursday.