Basketball team falters late in triple OT thriller

Kristen Spear

Staff Writer

 

After fifty-five minutes of intense and emotional basketball between the Sonoma State University men’s team and and San Francisco State - a battle which took them into triple overtime for first time since 1989 - the Seawolves end short of a victory, falling 80 - 76 to the Gators in The Swamp Saturday night in San Francisco.

“Our team showed that we never give up,” said senior forward James Slade. “It sucks losing a game like that, but I’m proud of how we played and how we competed throughout the game.” 

The refrees stepped in early and often. Sonoma State sent the Gators into the double bonus category, committing 29 personal fouls and two members of the squad being fouled out. 

San Francisco State capitalized on the Seawolves’ blunders, making 21 of its 24 free throws. 

Sonoma State, on the other hand, suffered in that department only making 64.4 percent of their shots from the charity stripe. 

The Gators took a commanding lead throughout the entire first half, going in halftime with a 35-26 lead.

But, the Seawolves roared back into the game in the second half and were able to cut the deficit down to just three with 30 seconds to go. 

James Davis drained a 3-point shot, his first of the night, with 29.2 seconds left, completing the comeback and tying the game at 55 a piece. 

With less than a second less on the clock, the Gator fanbase watched in panic as Davis launched a hail mary shot at half court. It seemed like it had a chance as it sailed through the air only to brush the bottom of the net, sending the game into overtime.

“Our goals were to stick to our fundamentals and keep them from driving to the basket,” said senior guard Andy Mitchell on returning back to the court at the start of overtime. “We also needed to focus more when we were at the free throw line.”

Luke Cochran was the savior in the first overtime when he swatted away a Gator desperation shot 24.6 seconds left in the period. David Ahern tracked down the loose ball and was fouled sending Ahern to the line down by two. All eyes on him, he stepped up and overcame the pressure, making both free throw shots and extending the game into the second overtime with the score at 61 all.

The Seawolves had its largest lead of the game near the end of second overtime but only by a narrow three points. This time the Gators were able to come up clutch burrying a late 3-point shot of its own to send the game into triple overtime with a score of 69-69.

The Gators jumped ahead to a five-point lead in the final five minutes. It proved to be all San Francisco State needed to put an end to game, giving Sonoma State the heartbreaking loss.

“We’ve all been playing sports for quite awhile now and at one time or another we’ve played in a game where it’s been emotional like this game,” said Slade. “I think having heart and character are the main ways to maintain the focus.” 

Davis put up 21 points for the Seawolves while Ahern followed right behind with 20 points. Mitchell was a key contributor on defense, grabbing 10 rebounds but Cochran added a career-high and game-best 14 rebounds while also adding17 points on the board. 

“Personally, the more emotional a game is, the more focused I get because I end up having more fun,” said Cochran. 

With two more games in the regular season, the Seawolves stand with an 8-10 record against CCAA opponents and are 13-11 on the season. Having already secured a spot in the CCAA tournament, the team will look to add two more wins to its record, which will qualify the team for the playoffs. 

“Overall it was a great game to be apart of and even though we came up short, I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” said Mitchell.

The Seawolves will finish up its regular season this weekend as they are scheduled to face Cal State San Bernardino at the Coussoulis Arean in San Bernardino Friday night before heading to La Jolla the following night to take on UC San Diegoat the RIMAC Arena Saturday. Both games with tip-off at 7:30 p.m.