Fresh off a win in their home opener and riding a two-game win streak, the Cal Poly Humboldt men’s basketball team will be traveling to Colorado this weekend as they compete in the Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Regis University. The Lumberjacks will face off against Regis on Friday and then will play Metro State on Saturday.
Similar to the pair of season-opening games in Canada, these games will effectively be a pair of back-to-back road trips as both schools are based in the Denver area. Like Humboldt, the two schools hold records of 2-2, which should set up a competitive weekend as the ‘Jacks come into the games with plenty of momentum.
Against Regis, both teams will head into this matchup coming off wins in their previous games. Regis is coming off a 74-64 win against Holy Names in Oakland, while Humboldt beat Sonoma State 79-71 at home on Tuesday. The matchup with Regis is difficult to gauge for Humboldt. The Rangers were an impressive 20-10 last year and opened the year with a strong showing in a loss to the 16th-ranked team in the country. But they lost to San Francisco State last week, a team that was picked to finish second-to-last in the CCAA. Regis seems to be struggling a bit out of the gate after losing their top three scorers from last year.
One of the more dangerous players for Regis would be guard Eddy Egun, a transfer from Division 1 Montana who is still looking to get going after being injured last year. But in general, the Lumberjacks once again seem to have a talent advantage over their opponent.
The ‘Jacks made terrific strides in their second straight win against Sonoma. The half-court defense appeared much stronger as they forced plenty of possessions late into the shot clock. The offense for Humboldt appeared much more cohesive as the immense depth of the Lumberjacks continued to mesh and blend as a team. But lapses and mistakes are still a concern for the ‘Jacks, particularly in the transition offense that is such an important part of Humboldt’s philosophy.
It should be noted that while Sonoma State competed very well for themselves against Humboldt, the Seawolves were a winless team that was picked to finish last in the CCAA. So while the Lumberjacks are still figuring things out, they’ll need to continue to elevate their level of play if they’re going to earn a spot in the postseason.
But the game against Regis does present another opportunity to get a win against a team that, at least from a talent standpoint, would appear beatable for the ‘Jacks.
In the second game, the Lumberjacks will face a slightly more dangerous opponent in Metro State. The Roadrunners put together a solid 17-12 season last year, and are led by Caleb McGill, a transfer from Division 1 UC Davis, and Tyrei Randall, a transfer from Division 1 Rider who averaged more than 20 points per game. But while Metro State has more talent and offensive firepower than Regis, they’ve not looked particularly impressive in their first four games. They needed overtime to beat an underwhelming Arkansas-Fort Smith team. The Roadrunners’ other win came in a blowout against an overmatched non-NCAA opponent.
Like with Regis, the ‘Jacks would certainly seem to have the edge against Metro State based on roster talent and pedigree. If Humboldt can continue to build on the positives from their past two wins, the Lumberjacks might see themselves exiting the weekend with a very nice 4-2 record. And although the ‘Jacks are still working out the kinks with this very athletic and skilled team, this last weekend should provide a terrific tune-up before Humboldt hits their full slate of conference opponents next week.
Jake Matson can be reached at 707-441-0526.