By Michelle Gardner
Sun Staff Writer
POMONA - The Cal State East Bay men's basketball team already knocked off one juggernaut this season when it upended CCAA preseason favorite Humboldt State. The Pioneers went after another one Thursday night and got that one too, this time beating conference leader Cal Poly Pomona 57-54 at Kellogg Gymnasium.
It was the biggest win for the East Bay program since its move to NCAA Division II for the 2009-10 season.
The loss puts the Broncos (8-1, 5-1), ranked sixth in the nation, in a first-place tie with Cal State San Bernardino (6-3, 5-1), which was idle, while the Pioneers (6-4, 4-2) move into a tie for third.
"Beating Humboldt was big, but beating Cal Poly here, well that's pretty special," Pioneers head coach Will Biggs said. "It's not something many teams have been able to do."
Cal Poly coach Greg Kamansky was not surprised his team was upset. He didn't have a good feeling this week in practice.
"The reality is this team has to play with more energy than the other team," he said. "Not that we didn't have any energy but they definitely wanted it more. I'm not surprised. I really saw it coming. This is the most competitive conference in the country. You can't have a bad night."
The Pioneers led by as many as 14 points but had to hang on at the end. The Broncos made it 52-50 on a dunk by Tyquan Brown with 1:46 left, only to have East Bay respond with Jason Smith connecting on the last of his seven 3-pointers, making it 55-50 with 1:30 to go.
Each team missed its next shot, with the other grabbing the rebound. The Broncos pulled within three at 55-52 on a tip-in by Brown with 31 seconds left and had a chance to get within one or tie it on the next possession, but an errant pass gave the Broncos the ball back.
They capitalized with Mitchel Anderson scoring uncontested to make it 55-54 with 25 seconds to go.
The Broncos fouled Smith with 13 seconds left and he sank both free throws to make it 57-54.
Terrance Drisdom launched a 3-pointer from the top of the key in the final seconds but it caromed off the rim, off an East Bay player and out of bounds. The Broncos got another try but a shot by Drisdom was well off the mark.
The Broncos had an off night shooting-wise, hitting 43.5 percent (20 for 46) from the field. Brown led the way with 14 points and 11 rebounds and Dwayne Fells chipped in with 10. But Drisdom was just 4 of 17.
The Broncos were 1 of 9 from 3-point range and just 13 for 24 from the line.
Despite having a decided size advantage the Broncos had just two more rebounds than the Pioneers - 34-32.
The Pioneers shot 40 percent (20 for 50) but made 11 of 28 3-pointers, which compensated for only getting 11 attempts from the line (making six).
Smith finished with 23 points.
Four East Bay players finished with four fouls. Wynne picked up his fourth with 13 minutes left but remained in the game. The Pioneers were also able to withstand the Cal Poly rally which brought the crowd to its feet.
Asked what that says about his team, Biggs responded: "I don't know but I like it."
The Broncos will host Cal State Monterey Bay (2-8, 1-5) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.