March 13, 2009

Courtesy of Cal St. San Bernardino

BELLINGHAM, WA. -- Cal Poly Pomona scored a three-pointer at the end of regulation to force an overtime, then won the NCAA West Regional quarterfinal contest with rival Cal State San Bernardino, 83-81, in Carver Gym at Western Washington University Friday night.

The Coyotes, the CCAA co-champions with the Broncos and Cal State Dominguez Hills and the CCAA tournament champions after winning three games by a total of eight points, ran out of the last of their nine lives in the five-minute overtime.

CSUSB, finishing the season with a 20-10 record after opening the season 2-5, lost in the regional quarterfinals for the second straight time while the Broncos move on to face the Western Washington-Central Washington winner in the semifinals Saturday night in Carver gym on the WWU campus.

Coach Jeff Oliver's team seemed poised to take the game after they rallied from 19 points down -- 51-32 with 14:40 left in the game, outscoring the Broncos 30-11 to tie the game at 62-all on a jumper by Brandon Brown with 3:33 left.

The Coyotes moved out to a 70-66 leadf on a layup by Devin Montgomery with 48 seconds left but the Broncos would not go away. With 17 seconds left and leading 74-72, Montgomery missed the first of two free throws but made the second for a 75-72 lead with 14 seconds left.

Cal Poly Pomona brought the ball down and Austin Swift's three-pointer was rebounded by the CCAA MVP Larry Gordon who knocked down a three as time expired to force the overtime at 75-75.

The Coyotes took a 79-76 lead on a layup by Brown and two free throws by Tim Denson but Gordon scored a bucket and Swift sank two free throws for a 80-79 Pomona lead with 2:09 remaining. Brown put the Coyotes back in front 81-80 on a layup off a feed by Denson with 1:39 to go. Gordon again responded with a  layup with 1:09 left for an 82-81 Broncos lead.

Denson missed a layup and Tobias Jahn rebounded for Pomona with 46 seconds left.l

Then a layup by Brown was blocked by Gordon with three seconds left and Walter Thompson was fouled and made one free throw with two seconds left and missed the other. Brown rebounded and the Coyotes called timeout but CSUSB was unable to get a shot off as the game ended.

Brown, an all-CCAA first-teamer and CCAA newcomer of the year who was voted to the Daktronics All-West Region first team, finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds and two blocked shots to lead the Coyotes. Denson has 14 points and six assists. Montgomery had 14 points and four assists. DuBois Williams had 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Gordon flashed his all-America-type credentials with 28 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots, the last one on Brown being the biggest of the game. Swift had 17 points while Thompson finished with 13 and Jahn 10 and seven rebounds.

CSUSB's regional tournament record is now 13-7 but it has been one and done in three of its last four regional appearances. The exception was the Final Four year of 2006-07.

Of the team's top seven players, only two will return in 2008-09 -- Brown and Lawrence Tyson.