By Jazmin Jett |Staff Writer|
On Jan. 4, the CSUSB men’s basketball team claimed the CCAA lead after their victory against Cal State East Bay. In addition to reaching first place, this win marked team coach Jeff Oliver’s 200th win.
Oliver credits the team’s success to adamant defense, a height advantage and a balanced scoring attack.
The team’s height advantage, aside from their talent, contributed to their win against San Francisco State. The six tallest players towered over the opposing team. “Bigs”, as former CSUSB player Aaron Hill referred to them, also take advantage of their height while on offense.
“When we kick it to the ‘bigs’ on the inside and begin scoring, the opposing team doubles our tallest guys, leaving our guards open on the outside.” said Hill.
The “bigs” have proved to be the core of the team: two of the three averaging double digits every game.
Other strategies exerted were elaborated by Hill, “When shots don’t fall in from the outside, move in towards inside … shoot layups and draw fouls.”
CSUSB pummeled San Francisco State during the holiday season, an impressive 19 point victory for the Coyotes. Our team’s balanced scoring was apparent with Vaughn Adams and Theron Laudermill each scoring 14 points, and Tre Brewer and Juan Martinez both chipping in with 10.
Most of the team’s points were made in the second half as they generated a dominant 61% shooting average.
Their win against East Bay was quite the exuberant one. Players Tre Brewer, Theron Laudermill, Kwame Alexander and Johnny Bell concluded the game with double digit scores, and Hakeem Washington managed 5 assists.
When asked about the team’s preconceived notion on playing East Bay, Hill answered “We knew East Bay would be a tough match up… their “bigs” aren’t that tall but they excel in athletics.” CSUSB held Cal State East Bay to a one point lead during a 5-6 minute stretch during the bottom of the first half, which gave them the upper hand and led them to the win.
Senior Nate Roth was named CCAA’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Week.
Roth, a guard, contributed 20 impressive points to the team’s win against UC San Diego while also dishing out eight assists.
Coach Oliver hopes to accompany their success with several other wins. The ultimate goal still remains becoming NCAA West Regional Champs and NCAA National Champs.