Every year as March arrives, basketball fans across the country support their teams as they get ready for tournament play.
For the 2014 Pacific West Conference basketball tournament, the top six National Collegiate Athletic Associations eligible schools competed in a three-day span of competitive play, working to advance to the next round of the tournament.
The California Baptist University men’s basketball team began postseason play with a win-loss record of 24-2, granting them a first-round bye.
CBU then waited to play the winner between Brigham Young University of Hawaii and Chaminade University, two teams the Lancers beat during the regular season.
Chaminade University ended up beating BYU-Hawaii, which now set up a rematch against the Lancers.
However, this time the game was played on a neutral court at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.
The Lancers were unable to overcome an early deficit that resulted in an 80-72 score in favor of Chaminade University.
“Our guys knew the Pac West was a really tough conference, which is why winning the conference title was a great accomplishment and something to really be proud of,” said Rick Croy, CBU’s men’s basketball head coach.
The Lancers then prepared for their first trip to the NCAA Tournament where they faced California State University at Chico in the first round.
The Lancers maintained a lead for the first half as well as part of the second, but the Chico State Wildcats did not give up as they rallied to a 77-71 victory. Even with a loss, the Lancers were able to be nationally ranked and take the Pac West championship title.
“(CBU men’s basketball) was able make history (this season) because of the family and the brotherhood we created,” said Kevin Crabb, senior communication studies major and center for the men’s basketball team. “There wasn’t a team tougher than us. We bought into everything Coach Croy and the coaching staff brought and we competed for each other every day.
Everything we did was for one another, and that’s why our season was so special. I love every single guy on the team, and there isn’t another group of guys I would have wanted to go through this season with.”
The Lancers came into this season with a couple of freshmen who looked to contribute right away.
“Personally, I didn’t really view the new guys as new players,” said Ivan Patterson, senior business administration major. “I just wanted to make sure they felt appreciated as teammates and most importantly as friends. Like I told a lot of people, this year wasn’t about the wins, it was about the memories.”
The men’s basketball team played a strong season and came together as a team and brotherhood.