Plenty for Cal Poly Pomona to celebrate win over N1. 20 Chico State Saturday night

Following Cal Poly Pomona’s 69-56 victory at home Saturday evening against rival Chico State, men's basketball coach Greg Kamansky liked the way his team competed.

The Broncos got a nice performance from senior forward Jordan Faison, who scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

“He has been playing incredible,” Kamansky said. “He is an MVP candidate in our conference. He has had an unbelievable year, as expected. He has really had to step up. He’s an unbelievable talent, playing against players who are doubling him and he is still getting numbers. He is an absolute blessing for us this year.”

 Kamansky also liked the way some of the younger players played against Chico State. Sophomore Daylan Lawrence scored 12 and freshman Chris Sullivan added 11.

“We shot the ball solidly,” Kamansky said. “We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot. We’ve been struggling with that the last few games. Our guys physically competed tonight so I was really happy.

“Chico is a big and athletic team. We don’t have the size that they do. We functioned well out there.”

It was simply a great way for the Broncos to end the week. Cal Poly Pomona also picked up a home victory against Stanislaus State on Thursday. It was a nice rebound for the Broncos, who suffered their first loss of the season on Jan. 2 at UC San Diego, falling 72-69.

The two wins allows Cal Poly Pomona, ranked No. 5 in the NABC coaches poll, to remain tied with UC San Diego in the California Collegiate Athletic Association with a 7-1 conference record. Overall, the Broncos are 14-1.

“We have a lot wins right now, and we beat a good Azusa Pacific team earlier in the year,” Kamansky said. “But that was a long time ago. We hadn’t played a power team for a while so we went there (UC San Diego) and gave them a run. But we didn’t play particularly well there.

“Tonight was a big test. We have played Chico 12 times in the last four years. It is almost like our arch rival now. We have played them for the conference championship. This was a big game for us. Happy to see us compete at this level.”

During the telephone interview after the game, Kamansky never mentioned that the outcome held personal significance for him. It was his 330th win as the head coach at Cal Poly Pomona, making him the winningest coach in school history.

Now in his 16th season at Cal Poly Pomona, Kamansky has guided the Broncos to the 2010 NCAA Division II national title, four Elite Eight appearances, four CCAA regular season titles and nine trips to the NCAA Division II tournament.

Last year Cal Poly Pomona finished 24-7 and reached the second round of the NCAA Division II West region.

The Broncos, though, lost seven players off of last year’s team and that created a bit of uncertainty entering a new season.

“The players are humble, but they are confident,” Kamansky said. “This program, for 15 years, have won a lot of games and championships. No matter how young or how many players we lose, the expectation is we want to compete for a championship. A few upperclassmen who have returned have led very well. Barry Bell is one of those guys.

“I feel like this team, with all the younger players we have, we are moving forward and getting better. We still have a way to go, but it has been an unbelievable ride so far. We have to keep moving forward.”

Kamansky recognizes there is still plenty of conference games to go. The Broncos still have a home game against UC San Diego and a road game at Chico State. Both teams are ranked in the top 25.

“We know we have a big rematch with them (Chico State) down the road (Feb. 19), Kamansky said. “That will be on ESPN3 at their place. We got to keep getting better. They will be playing better at that time.”

More about California Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball

To get a taste of what the CCAA is all about, said Kamansky, check out Friday’s game between Cal State East Bay against Cal State LA, which was won by East Bay 46-37.

“This conference plays defense,” Kamansky said. “It is a rugged, athletic conference with great coaches in it. They game plan and game plan and game plan. Points are at a premium.”

The conference has 13 teams with Cal Poly Pomona, Chico State and UC San Diego all ranked in the top 25.

“It is a super physical conference,” Kamansky said. “If you are not ready to play one night, anybody can beat anybody. That is what makes it special. It prepares us for postseason. Whoever gets out of here.

“Obviously, we have been a defensive-minded team for years. It has helped us down the road when it comes NCAA tournament time.”

St. Cloud State wrestling team takes second at NWCA National Duals

St. Cloud State wrestling team left the NWCA Division II National Duals in Fort Wayne, Ind., Saturday evening a bit disappointed by the final result, but realizing it can once again compete with the best teams in the country.

The Huskies, ranked No. 2, opened the dual tournament on Friday with a 43-3 victory over Newberry followed by a 32-6 win over Lake Erie.

“We were kind of flat but was able to win 17 of 20, not too bad,” said St. Cloud coach Steve Costanzo.

Costanzo liked the way his team wrestled in the 30-7 semifinal win over University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Saturday morning.

“We won eight of the 10, which was a really good performance by our guys,” Costanzo said.

In the championship dual, the Huskies faced Notre Dame College (Ohio), which knocked off No. 1 ranked Maryville (Mo.) in the semifinals. Fifth-ranked Notre Dame pulled out a 21-15 victory.

“They really have a great team and some good guys,” Costanzo said. “We were fortunate to see them before the national tournament. Their coach did a great job preparing for us and they wrestled well against us. This is the kind of competition that we needed.

“Until this date, we really haven’t had much of a test to see where we are at and what we needed to work on against some of the top Division II teams. We had an opportunity to wrestle against some of the best Division II teams in the country. That is going to prepare us down the road and a lot of teams down the road.”

Costanzo liked the way junior heavyweight Austin Goergen wrestled in the dual tournament.

“We have had a lot of great performance out of kids on our team,” Costanzo said. “Right now our heavyweight is undefeated. He had a couple of pins and a tech fall this weekend. He is really on fire. He is one of the catalysts. We have several catalysts, and he is definitely one of them.”

St. Cloud has the luxury of starting a dual tournament with a top-notch wrestler and concluding it with Goergen. Although Tim Prescott suffered a 6-5 loss to Notre Dame’s Jacob Goodwin, he is one of the top wrestlers at 125 pounds. Prescott is the defending Division II champion at 125 pounds.

“Tim is battling through some injuries, but he is still able to go out there and compete for us and still able to perform,” Costanzo said. “It is not a bad thing to lose some of these matches like this. It can only make a guy like him better and keep things in perspective. He competes hard for us and gives us everything he has.”

St. Cloud has a target on its back this season. The Huskies won their first Division II wrestling title last year.

“Obviously, we would like to be there again, but the most important thing right now is our guys wrestle to their best ability,” Costanzo said. “If they wrestle to their best ability, I think this team has a shot to be in the thick of things. That’s what we focus on is wrestling to our best ability. That’s all we talk about.”