March 4, 2009 > All is as it should be in the Cal-Pac
All is as it should be in the Cal-Pac
By Tony Cogley
Photos By Bill Mancebo
Sure, we all love to see an upset. But sometimes a team deserves the title of "Champion" because they've worked hard all season, taken on all challengers and shown strength as a cohesive unit.
The Cal State East Bay men's basketball team earned that title on Saturday night, Feb. 28, by beating number-two seeded William Jessup for the third time this season, this time on a buzzer beater by none other than California Pacific Conference (Cal-Pac) player of the year, Tauran Moore.
The Pioneers entered the Cal-Pac as the number-one seed and enjoyed two rounds of byes and home-court advantage throughout the tournament before having to take on the number four seed, Cal Maritime, on Friday, Feb. 27.
Statistically, East Bay dominated the visiting Keelhaulers, outrebounding them 41-36 and shooting 50.8 percent, compared to Maritime's 37.5 percent. Moore led in scoring once again with 19, while Melvin Flemings came off the bench to add an extra 16 in East Bay's 88-76 win.
After William Jessup University advanced to the finals with a win over Dominican, the stage was set for a true championship game and a potential heartbreaker if East Bay couldn't shut down Jessup for a third time.
The two last met on February 5 in a one-sided win for East Bay that sent Jessup down to third place in the Cal-Pac at the time and forced them to have to win their last four games just to finish in second.
With neither team wanting to lose the championship on sloppy play, the game was fairly low scoring with great ball movement from both teams. At the half, East Bay held just a five point lead over Jessup, 28-23, and would need even better play in the second to secure the victory.
With just minutes left on the clock, Jessup hacked away at East Bay's eight point lead and tied things up, 52-52. But on East Bay's final possession - and just .8 seconds on the clock - Tauran Moore sank a three and crowned the Pioneers the Cal-Pac champs.
The team will now travel to the NAIA Division II Championship on March 11 in Point Lookout, Missouri, and are currently awaiting to find out their seed in the field of 32.