By Richard Dawson |Staff Writer|
The CSUSB men’s basketball teams’ season came to a close after suffering a devastating 61-60 loss to Sonoma State on Feb. 28.
The loss was made even more frustrating, as the Coyotes found themselves in position to come away with the victory, leading 60-58 with 11 seconds remaining in the game.
Tre’ Brewer was at the line for a one and one play, but the front end free throw didn’t drop and the Seawolves’ Ashley Arnott got the rebound.
Sonoma State moved the ball down the court before calling a timeout with 2 seconds remaining.
After the inbound, Sterling Arterberry made a layup to tie the game at 60.
Theron Laudermill fouled Arterberry during the layup, which put him on the line with a chance to give the Seawolves the lead.
Arterberry nailed the ensuing free throw ending the game and the Coyotes’ disappointing season.
The Coyotes, who trailed most of the night, made a game of it with 11 minutes remaining in the second. Down 46-39, CSUSB went on a 16-2 run over a six minute stretch to put themselves up 55-48 with 4:46 left on the clock.
Closing out games was a nagging problem for the Coyotes late in the season. This loss was the fourth time in their last five games that they held a lead with five minutes remaining but failed to win the game.
“We haven’t had consistent guard play all year. In this conference you need to have that. Without that play, it’s tough to close out games,” said head coach Jeff Oliver.
Nate Roth led CSUSB with 14 points. Brewer, who had a career best 28 points against the Seawolves the week prior, was held scoreless on six shots from the field.
“Tre’ had a tough night, he was involved in the one on one and it was his guy that did the screen on the layup by Arterberry,” said Oliver. “We tried to switch our defense, unfortunately it didn’t transpire in time.”
This is the second consecutive season that CSUSB misses the NCAA tournament, but only the third time it has happened in Oliver’s tenure with the school.
This loss came on the heels of a 66-72 defeat at Humboldt State on Feb. 25.
A victory over Humboldt State combined with a Sonoma State loss would have positioned the Coyotes to host a tournament game rather than them being forced to play on the road for a second straight week.
“It was brutal scheduling the last couple weeks,” said Oliver. “We have lacked leadership the last two years, when you go into their environment you need leadership because you deal with hostile crowds on the road.”
Despite the sour ending to the season, there was some positive news for two Coyote players.
Kwame Alexander, who led the CCAA in rebounds this season, was named to the All-CCAA men’s basketball first team and Theron Laudermill was selected to the second team for the second consecutive season.
Laudermill led the CCAA with eight double-doubles this season. The senior also finished as the Coyotes top scorer this year with 13.7 points per game.
“Theron played really well out of the gate before he broke his nose. He regained that form later in the year. He’s been consistent for us the past two years,” said Oliver.
Alexander led the CCAA in rebounds with season with 7.9 per game and was runner up to Laudermill with five double-doubles of his own.
“Kwame progressed a lot in terms of his motor and energy level. Defensively, he got better and didn’t break down as much. What’s neat about him, being that hes a junior, there is still a lot of room for improvement both offensively and defensively,”said Oliver. “It was tough for those two since we didn’t have consistent guard play. Teams challenged us to beat them with the three and we didn’t do a good job of doing that.”
When asked about being selected to the CCAA team for the first time, Alexander referenced a quote from his mother.
“Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons. Hard work equals success.”
So as the season has come to a close, all the CSUSB campus wish the senior players good luck in their future endeavors, thanking them for the countless contributions and memories they provided for the team and its fans.
As for the returning players, we fully expect them to return next season with a vengeance.
We hope that this season will motivate them to continue improving.