Humboldt State’s loss to San Francisco State Saturday didn’t knock them out of the California Collegiate Athletic Association [CCAA] Men’s Basketball Tournament. Humboldt was the last team to guarantee their spot as the eighth and final seed in the tournament.
In the tournament Humboldt will face UC San Diego, the number one seed.
In their only meeting this season Humboldt lost 67-88. UCSD finished the season with a 17-3 conference record which saw them named CCAA Regular Season Champions.
The Lumberjacks who finished the season with a 7-13 conference record are the defending tournament champions.
In their last game of the season the storyline was similar to that of many other games this season. The Lumberjacks started strong and kept the game close until halftime, then the game slipped away from them at the start of the second half. The Jacks were down five at the half, but a quick start by SF State saw that margin jump to 22 with 12 and a half minutes remaining.
“Something about us coming out of the locker room at halftime has been a struggle often this season,” head men’s coach Steve Kinder said. “And obviously this late in the year we haven’t found out the magic or the remedy of that problem.”
Coach Kinder is looking to find a new halftime speech for the Jacks upcoming game against UC San Diego.
“I need to throw away my halftime speeches,” Coach Kinder said. “If we are playing on tuesday night I need to come up with a new halftime speech for at least one more game.”
Despite the large deficit, the jacks were able to cut down SF State’s lead to 12 point by the end of the game, in large part due to the three point shooting from freshman Tyler Green.
Green shot 9-14 from behind the three point line and finished the night with a career high 28 points. Green’s nine three-pointers was a season high for the lumberjacks.
Moving forward the Lumberjacks will need to find a way to keep themselves in games during the second half. Green believes that a more positive and confident approach could fix the issues the Jacks have had in the second half of games.
“Just keep our heads up, next play, when they started their run there was 18 minutes left so that’s a lot of basketball left,” Green said, “if we kept our heads up, next play, we would be solid that’s all you can think.”
Going into the final game coach Kinder had talked to his team about finishing the season with a solid win to set the foundation for a potential tournament run.
“We didn’t play either half at that level that we need to be at for next tuesday,” Coach Kinder said.
Despite the loss Coach Kinder found positives in the way the team kept playing and battling back against the second ranked SF State team. Looking forward to the tournament Coach Kinder thinks the Jacks can be successful if their key players are able to step up and play big.
According to Coach Kinder, for the Lumberjacks to have a strong postseason they will have to rely on Nikhil Lizotte’s ability to shoot three pointers and Jack Kaub’s facilitating. The Jacks will also rely on Calvin Young II and Will Taylor’s rebounding and toughness.
“If Tyler Green plays like that and Tyras [Rattler Jr.] plays like he did earlier this season,” Coach Kinder said, “and Malik [Morgan] plays like he did and leads this team like he did to last years championship, I like our chances.”