Pioneers' Wood Sets Mark
- January 13, 2006
HAYWARD - The stage was set, the script was written and all it needed was an award-winning performance by Cal State East Bay's Mike Wood.
Wood, a senior guard from Foothill High, provided exactly that. His 15 points moved him past an onlooking Stan Cherry as the school's all-time scoring leader and spurred the host Pioneers to a 92-72 win over William Jessup in front of a raucous, season-high home crowd of 1,000 on Homecoming Night.
"It's great to get it over with," Wood said. "I've got a place in history here at this school. Now we can move on and worry about getting a league championship."
Wood's career total now stands at 1,399, two better than the 1,397 scored from 1971-75 by Cherry, who was honored in a pregame ceremony with Wood and was attending his first Cal State game since 1990, when he was inducted into the school hall of fame.
"I'll be honest, no one ever wants to see their record fall," said Cherry, who still holds the school's career rebounding record. "In this day and age, to have a guy that pretty much came from where I came from - small and not expected to be successful - you know it's going to the right guy."
The Pioneers (12-6, 8-2 Cal Pac Conference) needed every one of Wood's 10 first-half points to keep from falling behind, as they struggled early and the Warriors (4-16, 1-8) led 15-9 midway through the first half.
When Wood knocked home a short jumper with 4:58 left in the half to tie the game at 23-23, it marked the first time the Pioneers hadn't trailed since it was scoreless.
With the game knotted up at 34-34 with under a minute to go in the half, Cal State's Kenny Caraway, who had a game-high 26 points, scored five straight to give the Pioneers a 39-34 halftime lead.
Cal State responded to the strong end of the first half, picked it up on defense in the second half and didn't trail the rest of the game.
Wood pulled within two points of breaking the record with 10:35 left when he got the ball down low and nailed a turnaround bank shot.
The Pioneers went back to the same play on their next possession, and Wood was fouled while going up for a shot with 9:32 left.
He calmly nailed the first free throw to tie Cherry and then tickled the twine on the second to secure the record.
"I was just trying to think about putting them in," Wood said. "I was trying not to think about where I was or anything - just put them in just like in practice."
He later went 1-for-2 from the line to finish with 15 points. He left the court to a standing ovation with 1:17 to go and Cal State holding an 86-70 lead.
"It was more of a distraction than any kind of pressure," Pioneers coach Will Biggs said of Wood's run at the record. "It's going to help Mike. Now he doesn't have to worry about getting injured or something freakish happening."
Randy Isaacs, Wood's coach at Foothill, was also in attendance to see his former star player make history.
"It's a great accomplishment," Isaacs said. "He's had a heck of career here, he had a heck of a career at (Foothill). It's good to see him be successful."