Cal State Los Angeles at Cal Baptist, 5:00 PM Eastern, cbulancers.com
Last night, one of the most notable upsets on the opening day of Division I play was UC-Riverside’s 74-66 road win in Berkeley over the Cal Bears. However, at least in our opinions here at HoopsHD, that was NOT the most important win by a team in Riverside, California. That honor instead goes to Cal Baptist, as the Lancers opened their brand new 5,050 seat Events Center with an 83-79 victory over the Toros of Cal State Dominguez Hills. Kalidou Diouf led the Lancers with 24 points, and was joined by three others with double-figures in scoring. The game was perhaps decided on the boards, where CBU out-rebounded Dominguez Hills 42 to 27.
The reason this game was so important, even more so than being Opening Night at a new arena, was that the Lancers of Cal Baptist were recently declared the 2017-18 HoopsHD Team of the People! This honor goes only to a team in a unique situation, and earns them the honor of being championed by our staff all season long! CBU is in its final season of Division II play before beginning a four year transition to Division I next season, meaning that this will be the final season that they will be eligible for a national championship until 2022-23. And this Lancers team, nationally ranked in the top 20 in D2 preseason, is good enough to contend for the crown this year. We will be rooting them on throughout the non-conference slate, then through PacWest play, the PacWest tournament (which they will host) and eventually the NCAA D2 Tournament, and the championship in Sioux Falls!
This afternoon is Game Two on the season and in the new arena as the Lancers complete their Tip-Off Challenge against Cal State Los Angeles. The Golden Eagles defeated Holy Names yesterday 60-49 behind Jalyn Pennie’s 10 points and 12 rebounds. However, winning against the host Lancers today, especially if their crowd is even close to the same raucous level it was at last night, will be a lot more difficult task. The Lancers should be ready for this win, and claiming the championship in their Tip-Off Challenge series, as they move towards the eventual start of PacWest play at the end of this month.