The SF State Men’s basketball team broke its five game losing streak last Thursday, Feb. 13, in its 77-69 win over Humboldt State in a home game. This was only the Gators third win at home out of 11 and they deemed it Spirit Day by giving away free T-shirts to the first 500 students that entered the Swamp. The Gators then traveled to Turlock, CA to take on Stanislaus State on Saturday and were dealt their 13th loss in the conference losing 81-79. The Gators then lost again, against Chico State on Feb. 20 in an away game by 80-69. The men’s basketball team is known for having strong seasons in the past and the Gators head coach Vince Inglima knows this.
“This season has obviously been disappointing for us in the win column,” Inglima told Xpress. “Following several seasons in a row where we were competing near the top of the league, this is definitely new territory for us.” Last year under Inglima, the Gators made it to the California Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball Championship playoffs.
When a group is going through a win drought, what proves how stable they are is the locker room. Inglima noted that the locker room is as good as ever from what he has seen this season.
“I am proud of how committed this group is to each other, and how much energy they bring to practice every day,” Inglima said. “These young men have continued to work hard and support each other throughout the season. It is tough to keep things positive when you are not getting the results that you would like on the court. There is no way around that.”
The basketball team at SFSU is notorious for its achievements and economic investment compared to other sports programs on campus. The program is structured around winning and that serves a basis for success under Inglima.
“We try to keep things focused on the things we can control: the areas in which we need to improve, preparation for the next opponent, etc. Even when you are winning, the goal is to stay committed to the process of improving from day to day rather than get caught up in the outcomes on gameday. That is a constant for us as a program” Inglima said.
Out of the 16 man roster, only four are seniors with many players fighting for a spot next season. Linton Acliese, a Junior, leads the team in points and rebounds and will be on the team next season. He is averaging 18 points per game thus far.
“I feel like the season hasn’t been what we all anticipated coming into the season,” Acliese said. “We know we have a great group of guys who are talented and can do a bunch of different things. We just haven’t been able to figure it out.”
In terms of being the leader of the team, Acliese believes his success is built around trust. “I would say the leadership role develops as my teammates start to believe and trust in me more. Trust that I’ll make the right plays and play for them.”
Inglima has high hopes for next season and noted, “Our future is very bright. We return our leading scorer and rebounder from this year. We have some great young players who are getting a lot of experience this season which we hope they will be able to build upon going forward. Also, we have some great commitments already and are continuing to recruit now. We plan to be back competing for a CCAA title next year.”
Acliese also believes next year will be a great turnaround compared to the current season.
“Fans can expect a totally different year than this year,” Acliese noted. “We’re losing a great senior group but we’ll still have a great group returning. Fans should expect us to win out the rest of the year and provide fun and exciting games.”
The Gators have two games left with the last game and senior night coming against the team they lost to last year in playoffs, Cal State Los Angeles. “We have two home games left. It is senior weekend, and we will be trying to send off this senior class on a high note,” Inglima said.