Cal Poly Pomona drives past Bentley 71-63
Austin Swift had 22 points and seven rebounds and Cal Poly Pomona pulled away from Bentley for a 71-63 win in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II tournament on Thursday.
After losing to Findlay on an overtime buzzer-beater in the championship game last year, the Broncos will get another shot at a title. Cal Poly (27-6) will face Indiana (Pa.) on Saturday.
``We're very happy to be there again,'' coach Greg Kamensky said. ``I knew this team had some heart and some toughness. I thought maybe we'd have a chance. It shows how competitive we are and how much character we have.''
Bentley finished its season at 27-6.
After trading runs for most of the game, the teams were tied 50-50 with 10 minutes left.
The Falcons offense' struggled from there. They went six minutes without a field goal and the Broncos capitalized.
Cal Poly scored seven straight points as part of a 21-8 run that put the game away.
``We pride ourselves on defense,'' Swift said. ``We had to step up our intensity at that point in the game. We dug in and got it done.''
Bentley missed 12 of 13 shots before making two shots in the last 12 seconds with the game out of reach.
``It was very tough to penetrate their zone,'' Bentley senior Jason Westrol said. ``They were a very good help team. They played a great game.''
Cal Poly utilized its size advantage by scoring 30 points inside and winning the rebounding matchup 34-26.
``We have some tough kids who can battle, but if you have extra inches sometimes their height makes the plays,'' Bentley coach Jay Lawson said.
Tobias Jahn had 11 points and six rebounds for the Broncos and Dahir Nasser added 11 points.
Brian Tracey paced Bryant with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Jason Westrol had 15 points and seven assists.
``We focused on Westrol and didn't allow him to get going,'' Kamensky said. ``We wanted to make it tough on him to score points. He tried to take the game over at one point and we refused to allow him to do that.''
Lawson was pleased with his team's season.
``We came into this season undefeated twice and this season was better than those seasons,'' Lawson said. ``I would say it was equal or above any of my seasons in 25 years at Bentley.''