Senior guard Victor Joseph racked up a career-high 36 points in his final game at Mott Athletics Center Thursday night as the Cal Poly men’s basketball team edged out Cal State University Northridge (CSUN) in double overtime, 90-86.
The Mustangs (9-19, 4-10) entered the night in a three-way tie for the final playoff berth with UC Riverside (8-19, 3-10) and CSUN (6-22, 3-10) but move into sole possession of seventh place with the victory.
Joseph was not the only senior to come up big for the Mustangs against the Matadors, as senior center Aleks Abrams shattered his former single-game rebound record, corralling 18 boards against the conference foe. Junior point guard Donovan Fields also tied his career high with 23 points.
While the Mustangs maintained a close lead throughout the first half, the Matadors hung around and eventually took the lead with 4:10 to play in regulation. Junior forward Tavrion Dawson did most of the heavy lifting for the Matadors, posting 31 points and 13 rebounds while adding three steals.
Abrams had a chance to give the Mustangs the lead in the final 30 seconds of the second half but missed his free throw. On the ensuing possession for CSUN, Dawson had a good look at the buzzer but air-balled the attempt.
The teams traded scores in the first overtime, but CSUN looked to have the game in hand with less than 10 seconds to play and a three-point lead. Then, Joseph drilled an NBA-range three-pointer as time expired to send the game to double-overtime.
“I was looking at the clock and all I saw was numbers running down,” Joseph said. “Luckily, I got it off.”
After nailing the big shot, Joseph’s hot hand continued into the final overtime period. He racked up 10 quick points for the Mustangs, knocking down both of his shots from the field and all six of his free throws.
“It’s not about making the big shot, it’s about taking the big shot,” head coach Joe Callero said. “You gotta go up there with your anticipation [being] ‘I’m gonna take this and I’m gonna make it.'”
Joseph’s 36-point game was the highest individual scoring effort for a Mustangs’ player since 2010.
“He does what he does, he gets buckets,” Fields said. “He started getting hot and started getting open so we were looking for him on the offensive end and he hit the shots.”
The Mustangs have just two regular-season games remaining before the Big West Tournament in early March. They will travel to UC Riverside to face the Highlanders next Thursday.