LAIE, HI – The long wait was worth it for Cal Poly Pomona’s men’s basketball team.
The Broncos made their first appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs since 1976 a successful one, beating Alaska Fairbanks, 80-76 in a first-round NCAA
The victory was the first postseason win for the Broncos since the 1963-64 season. Cal Poly Pomona (21-7) will advance to the regional semifinals, where they will face No. 8 seed Cal State Bakersfield. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. PST and the game will be broadcast on the Cal Poly Pomona athletic Web site at www.cpp.edu.
The 21 victories is the second-highest total in Cal Poly Pomona history, trailing only the 1963-64 team coached by Bob Stull that went 23-6.
Guy Beahm (Jr., Willow Glen, West Valley JC) led a balanced Cal Poly Pomona attack with 15 points and eight rebounds. He scored 12 of his points in the second half, eight in the last 2:41. Jonathan Williams (Jr., Pasadena, John Muir HS) added 14 points, five assists and four rebounds, David Sybesma (Jr., Corona, Corona Centennial HS) had 13 points and eight rebounds and Jonathan Boyd (Fr., Fontana, Etiwanda HS) had a season-high 11 points in 25 productive minutes off the bench.
“It was incredible,” Beahm said. “I didn’t know what to expect. I think we got the best experience out of it possible. We got a first-round win.”
Hervey Malone (Fr., Pittsburg, Pittsburg HS) added nine points and season-high five assists, Jeff Bonds (So., Compton, Mayfair HS) had eight points and four rebounds and Michael Ridgway (Jr., Houston, TX, Lamar University) had seven points and four rebounds.
The Broncos enjoyed a 39-25 rebounding edge over the Nanooks (20-8). Beahm and Sybesma had eight rebounds each to lead the Broncos.
“It’s a great feeling. We all came to play hard. This was a team effort,” Bonds said. “Obviously, we didn’t come here to play one game and go home. We’re here to play. We want to stay as long as possible.”
Cal Poly Pomona trailed by as many as six points, 30-24, in the first half, but grabbed a 39-37 halftime lead and then led the entire second half. The Broncos opened the second half with a 9-0 run to open up a 48-37 edge. The Nanooks got as close as two points, 62-60, with 7:12 to go, but the Broncos responded by scoring the next six points – a layup by Boyd on an assist from Williams, a 3-pointer by Malone and one free throw by Sybesma.
The Nanooks made another run and got to within three points, 72-69, when Beahm took over. First, he hit an outside jumper with the shot clock winding down to make it 74-69. He then blocked an Alaska Fairbanks shot, which led to a fastbreak basket by Williams.
Bonds then hit two free throws with 37 seconds remaining to give the Broncos a nine-point edge, 78-69, and put the game away.
“I think we handled this game well,” Beahm said. “We got the jitters out and in the second half we took control. Even though it was our first year in the playoffs, we looked like we were experienced.”
In earlier games Friday, No. 3 seed Humboldt State beat No. 6 Hawaii Hilo and Cal State San Bernardino beat Sonoma State.