The third day of the men’s GCI Great Alaska Shootout started off with the first of the two semifinal games, the Cal Poly Mustangs taking on Central Michigan’s Chippewas.
The night after UAA upset Santa Clara in overtime, Anchorage showed up for the Friday, Nov 24 evening doubleheader.
Cal Poly opened things up with a 3 by Donovan Fields, the 5’ 10” Mustang point guard. Both teams struggled to score the ball in what turned out to be a low scoring first half as the Mustangs and the Chippewas each shot under 30 percent from the field.
Central Michigan was able to force multiple shot clock violations in the first half, but couldn’t keep the Mustangs off the boards as Cal Poly was able to secure seven offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes of game action.
Central Michigan tied the game up at 14 with about five and a half minutes to play, But Cal Poly responded with a 9-0 run.
After scoring the first 7 points of the game, Fields went cold before knocking in a pair of free throws with 3:19 left to play in the half.
Central Michigan was able to stop the run as they scored the last 6 points of the half to cut Cal Poly’s lead to 23-20, heading into the break.
The game saw both teams show more life on the offensive end in the back-and-forth second half, as neither team could take control.
Central Michigan’s Shawn Roundtree tied the game at 37 with his first three of the game, and the Chippewa’s 6’ 10” senior Luke Meyer gave them the lead on their next possession, 39-38. Cal Poly took the lead right back with a slam by Hank Hollingsworth.
Coming out of a timeout, Gavin Peppers scored on a nice drive to the rim to give Central Michigan a 3-point lead. Fields, who ended his night with 20 points, nine boards and four assists in 36 minutes on the floor, answered back with his second 3 of the night to tie the game at 47 with a little more than three minutes to play.
With 1:15 left to play, Central Michigan’s Kevin McKay added to his impressive stat line by hitting both his free throws and giving his team a 3 point lead. McKay lead the Chippiwas with 19 points and added 7 rebounds as he took home Player of the Game honors.
With 22 seconds left to play, the Mustang’s Victor Joseph hit his fourth three of the night, tying the game one last time. The celebration was short lived as Roundtree responded with his own triple that gave the Chippiwas the lead for good.
Fields missed a tough heave at the buzzer, sending Central Michigan to Saturday’s championship game with a 56-53 victory.
In the second game of the night, the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners took on the Idaho Vandals.
Bakersfield was coming off of their 20 point victory over the Seawolves on Wednesday, while the Vandals defeated Santa Clara in a much closer game than the 10 point spread might suggest, having pulled away late.
Idaho came out looking like the more explosive team, as Bakersfield played catch-up for most of the first half.
Back-to-back 3s by guards Victor Sanders and Chad Sherwood gave the Vandals a 15-9 lead, but Bakersfield’s gritty play on the defensive end kept them in the game. Shon Briggs’ 3-point-play with less than nine minutes to go brought the Roadrunners within 2, 19-17.
Idaho was held without a field goal for a five minute stretch late in the half before Scott Blakney knocked in a 2 pointer to end the drought.
A 3 by Brent Wrapp was followed up with a layup from the Roadrunner’s southpaw, Rickey Holden, which gave them their first lead of the game 28-27, with three minutes to play in the half.
Idaho was able to snuff out Bakersfield’s momentum, taking a 32-28 lead heading into halftime.
Again, Idaho came out strong, eventually pushing their lead to ten after Perrion Callandret hit his first three of the game. Callandret ended the night with 18 points, six boards, and three assists, including a nasty slam over the top of Bakersfield’s Justin Davis.
The Roadrunners never caved. Holden hit another triple and an off-ball foul gave them another possession which ended with two more from Justin Davis, cutting the Idaho lead to five.
Bakersfield’s defense came alive again, sending the Vandals into another prolonged cold-spell that saw Idaho miss everything for more than nine minutes of game play.
Two shots at the line for Holden pushed Bakersfield’s lead to eight, but Idaho finally broke out of their slump with Callandret’s monster dunk, cutting the deficit to 49-55.
The Vandals’ Trevon Allen splashed in a three to cut the lead to four, and then Victor Sanders took over. His finger roll forced Bakersfield to call a timeout, but Sanders came right back and hit his own triple to give Idaho a one point lead with a minute to go, 62-61.
Shon Briggs’ shot wasn’t falling for most of the night, but he was integral on the defensive end, as well as wearing down the Vandals in the post. He also had the most important assist of the game.
The Roadrunners, down by one, fouled Sanders with seven seconds to play. Sanders missed the free throw, and Briggs secured the board. With no timeouts left, Briggs ran the floor and found Davis in the corner for the go ahead three pointer that put the Roadrunners up, 64-62. Callandret missed the half-court shot at the buzzer for the Vandals.
Briggs, despite shooting 4-13 from the field, took home Player of the Game honors and finished the night with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The Vandals played the Mustangs for third place game prior to the championship on Nov. 25.