As Cal State East Bay’s men's basketball team prepares to move up to the NCAA Division II level and competition in the California Collegiate Athletic Association for the 2009-2010 season, the Pioneers left their former opponents in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and Cal Pac Conference with a winning streak to remember.
Coach Will Biggs' Pioneers won 14 of 16 regular season games as well as the conference tournament championship Feb. 27 and 28.
Although they fell just short of victory against heavily favored Black Hills State College of South Dakota in their first round game of the NAIA National Championship Tournament in Point Lookout, Mo., March 12, the Pioneers more than left their mark as the lead exchanged hands several times in the final moments of the game. Tied at 56 with 1:32 minutes remaining, the fifth-seeded Black Hills State advanced in the 32-team tournament with a 62-58 victory.
That was despite 31 points and seven 3-point baskets by CSUEB junior guard Tauran Moore, who had been the hero and Most Valuable Player of the Cal Pac Tournament, hosted for a third straight year by Cal State East Bay. Moore came close to leading his team to victory again as he made two free throws that tied the score in the final 92 seconds against Black Hills State. Moore’s efforts had put the Pioneers back in the game and a temporary lead after being down 30-17 at halftime.
The Pioneers' slow starting offense could be understandable considering it was their first game since winning the Cal Pac Conference Championship Tournament nearly two weeks earlier.
The Cal Pac tournament final ended in a 55-52 victory over William Jessup University, as Moore hit the winning basket with 0.8 of a second remaining.
The Pioneers finished the 2008-2009 season with a record of 19-8. Biggs' squad won the Cal Pac regular season championship with a 14-2 win-loss record. It was the team's first Cal Pac Conference championship since 1998.
Moore also was selected to the Cal Pac All-First team along with Pioneer sophomore forward Will Freedman.
Read more about the Pioneers’ NAIA tournament game and the Cal State East Bay men’s basketball season.
The National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics Web site features details about the tournament game.
The Pioneers beat their NAIA tournament game opponents in rebounds, assists and steals. More statistics are available online.