The first half was closely fought until the seven-minute mark, when Cal State LA (6-1) went on a 13-point run that saw the Penguins (0-5) go scoreless for three and a half minutes. The Penguins trimmed the lead to nine points on a Daniel Cheledinas layup but the Golden Eagles’ Trevor Hopkins hit a three-pointer from the corner to keep Cal State LA’s halftime lead at 12.
The Golden Eagles ticked off eight straight points in the second half’s first three minutes to extend the lead to 46-26 and took as large as a 22-point lead. Momentum swung to the Penguins though, when Cal State LA’s Franklin Session missed a wide-open dunk off the front of the rim. Dominican went on a 15-3 run, with 10 of those points coming from sophomore guard Ian Collins, that pulled the Penguins to within a point, 61-60, with 2:50 to play. Ryan Wetherall snapped the Cal State LA drought with a huge three-pointer from the left side that kept the Penguins just out of reach of the lead. The deficit grew back to 10 before the Penguins cut the final score to an eight-point margin.
Percentage wise, the Penguins outshot the Golden Eagles in all aspects but Cal State LA made it to the free throw line 36 times, compared to just 21 times for Dominican. The Penguins also outrebounded the Golden Eagles 43-35.
Collins was one of three players with 15 points, a career-high for him, and led the Penguins in scoring and rebounding with nine. Freshman center Connor Haysbert tied a career-high with an eight-point effort. Senior center Killian Larson added six points and seven rebounds in the loss.
Session and David Norris led Cal State LA with 15 points apiece, with Norris adding a double-double with 10 rebounds.
The Penguins return home to host the Dominican Classic where they will face Saint Martin’s on December 17 and nationally-ranked Seattle Pacific University on December 18. Tipoff for both games is slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Conlan Center.