By Richard Dawson |Staff Writer|
The CSUSB men’s basketball team bounced back with a vengeance last weekend with back-to-back home wins over the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros and Cal State Los Angeles Eagles.
Defense played a huge part in their 67-47 victory over the Toros, but the second half offensive eruption by the Coyotes was ultimately the difference.
The Coyotes defense stifled the Toros, forcing a twelve-minute stretch without a basket in the first half and holding the Toros scoreless for the first six minutes of the second half.
Tre’ Brewer and Kwame Alexander had 16 points apiece on offense to lead the way.
The tandem paired together for a crowd roaring slam late in the second half that served as an exclamation point to their victory.
Brewer stole the ball and found a wide open Alexander, who had a few thunderous dunks on the night, and looked video game-esque for the windmill slam.
One particular dunk by Alexander literally brought down the backboard. The crowd, originally shocked, roared with excitement at the ridiculous slam.
D.J. Shumpert had 7 blocks, 6 of which were in the first half, and Nate Roth added 12 points.
Execution in key moments led to the 62-60 victory over the Golden Eagles Saturday night.
While the Coyotes never trailed in the second half, CSULA cut the lead to 58-57 with 1:19 remaining.
With the game in the balance, Theron Laudermill and Alexander each hit a pair of clutch free throws in the final minute to help ice the game.
“Playing at home is nice, especially when you have a good crowd. It definitely gives us an edge when the momentum of the game is in our favor,” said head coach Jeff Oliver.
“We executed well both nights when we needed to. We are playing with a sense of urgency and making the most of each individual possession.”
The two victories helped the Coyotes climb back into a four-way tie for first with Chico State, Humboldt State and Cal Poly Pomona with 11-5 CCAA records.
Its important for the Coyotes to take advantage of the their last two home games against Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State. There are four road games that follow to complete the season.
“There is a lot of campus activities this week, so I look forward to fans making it out to our home finales,” said Oliver.
In their last matchup against the Cal State Stanislaus Warriors, the Coyotes mounted a huge comeback from ten points down in the fourth quarter to win 75-72.
The team expects another hard fought game.
“Stanislaus is a tough matchup for every team. They have the conference’s leading scorer, Reggie Jones (18.9 ppg), and because of his size he presents matchup problems in the paint,” said Oliver.
After playing the Warriors, the Coyotes will meet a Chico State Wildcat team that has been on a roll.
Chico State has won 10 of their last 12 games and own the conference’s best overall record at 17-5.
The Coyotes came out flat when they traveled to Chico earlier this season. A nearly seven-minute scoring drought heading into halftime tallied a considerable deficit of fifteen points.
“We came out of the gate flat. We couldn’t score in the first half up there,” said Oliver.
As the season winds down, there is still a chance that the Coyotes can host a CCAA tournament game.
If they continue to perform like that they did against the Toros and Eagles, that chance may become reality.