SF State battled in a hard-nosed game against the California State University East Bay Pioneers, but ultimately came up short in a 75-77 overtime loss.

The Gators started the game strong and jumped out to an early 17-7 lead. The lead slipped away, and the Gators ended the half trailing 30-37.

“I thought we were in pretty good shape to start the game,” Head coach Paul Trevor said. “But we made so many mental errors, execution mistakes and silly fouls. Important plays that if you want to win games, you have to make.”

The momentum of the game began to shift back and forth rapidly after Gator Treaven Duffy was fouled on a layup with 10 minutes left in the second half. The score was tied at 51 after Duffy’s basket, and he hit his ensuing free throw to give the Gators their first lead since 17-16 in the first half.

The game bounced back-and-forth for the next eight minutes. With 50 seconds left in the second half, the Gators trailed the Pioneers by three. Gator Brantley Bynum was able to make a strong move at the rim and hit a layup to cut the deficit to 67-68.

On the ensuing possession, Pioneer Jalen Richard missed a well-contested jump shot. Jon McMurray snagged the rebound with 10 seconds left in the game and threw a deep pass down the court to a streaking Bynum.

Bynum drove to the hoop and was fouled hard. He hit his first free throw to tie the game at 68, but missed his second one, which sent the game into overtime.

In overtime, the Gators made a slew of turnovers and mental mistakes, such as leaving Richard wide open to hit the game winner. Richard’s shot came with only two seconds left on the clock, giving the Pioneers a two-point lead. The Gators were unable to inbound the ball cleanly after the shot, and the game ended.

“For some reason, with their best player (Richard), we decided we were going to jump off of him,” Trevor said. “I don’t know how that is possible.”

Richard was tied with teammate Jack Pasquini for the highest score of the night at 21. Jon McMurry was the leading scorer for SF State with 17 points.

“If you’re going to make mental mistakes in the middle of January, you’re going to lose ball games,” Trevor said.  “It’s unfortunate, because it was a good opportunity for us to come home and get back in the mix with home court advantage. Now we’re going to have to dig down deep and find a way to get out of it.”

The Gators will look to bounce back Saturday night as they host the California State University Monterey Bay Otters.