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February 11, 2009 > Pioneers taking on all challengers

Pioneers taking on all challengers

By Tony Cogley

It's not often in basketball that a first-place team goes head to head with the second-place team twice in one week, especially if that means taking on two different teams back-to-back.

Such was the problem for the Cal State East Bay men's team this week, taking on three different division rivals in their quest for a first-place finish in conference. Their solution? Win by any means necessary.

The Pioneer's first game on Tuesday, Feb. 3, came on the road against Bethany University, and ended with another dominant win for East Bay, 94-80, in which all five starters scored in double figures.

Next, the team traveled to Rocklin on Thursday, Feb. 5, to take on William Jessup, who was looking to avenge its only conference loss at the hands of the Pioneers, and overtake first place in the standings. What should have been a back-and-forth slugfest, quickly turned into a one-sided affair, complete with another win for East Bay.

At the half, the team was already leading 52-25, giving way for Jun Uchida and Will Freedman to take over the game's high scorer stat with 17 points each. The loss for Jessup dropped them to third place in conference after a win by Dominican over Pacific Union on the same night.

For fans of the California Pacific Conference (Cal-Pac), you couldn't ask for a better scenario: the number one takes on the number two in back-to-back games. And the game on Saturday, Feb. 7, would be everything the Jessup game was supposed to be.

Dominican came into Hayward looking to play hard, and win. After all, their first meeting ended in OT with East Bay edging out a one point victory, 59-58, on January 10. So when the scoreboard read 33-33 at the half, you just knew this one was going to end in a close one as well.

Like clockwork, Coach Will Biggs put the ball in the hands of team leader and Cal-Pac player of the week, Tauran Moore, and made sure the team gave him space from beyond the arc. Moore went 5-5 shooting 3's, and finished with 24, as East Bay, once again, beat Dominican by one point, 65-64.

The win put East Bay in front of the Cal-Pac's second-place teams, Jessup and Dominican, by 2.5 games.

The Pioneers hit the road this week, with games against UC-Santa Cruz on Wednesday, Feb.11, and then Pacific Union on Saturday, Feb. 14, before finishing the season at home against CSU-Maritime on Thursday, Feb. 19.

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