HAYWARD -- For the second straight season, the Jacks have suffered an early conference loss.
After rallying from an eight-point halftime deficit to take a 10-point lead, Humboldt State was knocked down again when CSU East Bay surged right back to claim a 88-82 win in a California Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball game Saturday.
CSU East Bay improved its record to 4-2 overall while handing No. 6 nationally ranked Humboldt State its first loss of the season and dropping the Jacks to 5-1. The Pioneers are now 2-0 in league and HSU is 1-1 after splitting two on the roadtrip.
CSUEB also snapped HSU's streak of five consecutive wins over the Pioneers. Cal State East Bay's last win over HSU was a 76-75 decision during the 1997-98 season.
Missed free throws and turnovers contributed heavily to the Jacks' initial setback. They hit only 28-of-42 from the line for 62 percent, and committed a season-high 19 turnovers. Many of the free throw misses came on the front end of one-and-one opportunities.
”We missed a few free throws early, and then it becomes contagious,” HSU head coach Steve Kinder said. “They were very aggressive and intense on defense, which created turnovers. Those are both parts of the game we obviously don't want to happen.”
The Pioneers' Nick Marshall, Jacari Whitfield, Mark Samuels ,Quinton Lilley and Jason Smith spread the scoring, Marshall leading the way with 15 points. Whitfield and Lilley each scored 12, while Samuels and Smith each added 11.
Brandon Sperling's 24 points topped the Lumberjacks, who had five players in double figures. Kyle Baxter and Scott Clark each scored 14 points, Austin Bryan added 12 and Randy Hunter 11 for HSU.
Turnovers plagued HSU from the start of the game, the Jacks giving up the ball eight times in the first eight minutes. Poor shooting also contributed to the Jacks' slow start, helping Cal State East Bay forge a 16-7 lead.
The tendency to give the ball away continued for the Jacks, who committed a season-high 19 turnovers overall.
Bryan led the Jacks' charge back into contention, scoring five straight points during a 10-2 run that cut the East Bay lead to 18-17. After Lilley drove for two for the Pioneers, Bryan drove for another layup to keep pace.
East Bay surged away again, claiming its largest lead of the first half when Samuels hit a jumper to make the score 31-21. As the period wound down, Samuels drove for another basket to give CSU East Bay an 11-point lead, but Sperling's halfcourt desperation shot banked in as the clock ran out, leaving the Pioneers with a 40-32 lead.
Exploding out of the locker room, the Jacks scored the first 15 points of the second period, taking their first lead of the game on Kyle Baxter's three-pointer three minutes into the half. Baxter's putback moved the Jacks up 45-40, and then the senior forward rebounded a miss and banked in another to give the Jacks a seven-point lead.
After HSU pushed its lead to 10 on Clark's three-pointer, the Pioneers quickly regained momentum when Marshall threw down a dunk. That play proved pivotal, starting a 20-4 run that put CSUEB up by seven points again with six minutes remaining.