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Cal Poly Pomona is in hunt for title

Broncos will play today in Division II men's basketball quarterfinals.

March 23, 2010|By Mike Hiserman

In the 52 seasons of basketball Cal Poly Pomona played before Greg Kamansky became coach, the Broncos played in the NCAA postseason three times. In his 10 seasons, they've made it six times.

Pomona will make its fourth appearance in eight years in the quarterfinals of the Division II men's tournament when it meets St. Joseph's of Indiana on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.

The Broncos (25-6) have won 18 of their last 19 games and advanced out of the West Regional by making a season-high 10 three-point baskets to defeat Brigham Young Hawaii, 78-75.

Senior guard Austin Swift led Pomona in that game with 19 points, including five in the final minute and a half, and his 13.1 scoring average is best on a team where seven players average between 20.3 and 31.1 minutes and 13.1 and 4.9 points per game.

In St. Joseph's, the Broncos are meeting a team that has been living on the edge. The Pumas (23-9) advanced into the playoffs despite losing their last two regular-season games. They were seeded eighth — last — in the Midwest Regional, but won three consecutive games by a total of five points.

St. Joseph's defeated Kentucky Wesleyan, 72-70; Grand Valley (Mich.) State, 78-76, in overtime, and Quincy (Ill.) College, 104-103, in triple overtime.

Freshman guard Dayvon Sloan scored 45 points for St. Joseph's against Quincy, upping his season average to 11.6. But the hero in all three victories was sophomore guard Phillip Collins, who made the winning basket in each game.

Of the eight teams still in contention — St. Cloud (Minn.) State, Midwestern (Texas) State, Indiana (Pa.), Valdosta (Ga.) State, Bentley (Mass.) and Augusta (Ga.) State are the others — none has won a national title. However, Pomona played for one just last year, losing to Findlay (Ohio), 56-53, in overtime.

"When you look at what St. Joseph's has done, going to Kentucky Wesleyan and winning three straight games as an eight seed, is a big deal," Kamansky said. "They have our respect."

mike.hiserman@latimes.com

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