As former Mustang Brantly Stevenson walked onto the floor at Cal Baptist, he stood next to his old teammate, senior guard Kobe Sanders. Stevenson and Sanders came in as freshmen together at Cal Poly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four years later, Stevenson and Sanders wore opposite jerseys. Following the conclusion of the 2022-2023 season, where the Mustangs lost 18 straight games in conference, Stevenson put his name in the transfer portal and signed with Cal Baptist for his senior season.
Stevenson along with many other members of the program transferred out or graduated, which led Head Coach John Smith and the coaching staff to put together a roster with nine newcomers.
Stevenson had never played with Cal Poly’s four other starters who took the floor for the Mustangs in the team’s 67-58 loss to Cal Baptist on Sunday, Nov. 19
Stevenson currently averages 12.3 points per game for Cal Baptist, but the Etiwanda High School alumni was a non-factor in the game recording four points on four free throws with no field goals.
The Lancers overcame Stevenson’s off night by getting to the free throw line. The Mustangs allowed 31 free throws, and although the Lancer only converted 22 shots, the advantage proved too much to overcome.
On three separate occasions this season, the Mustangs have allowed 30 or more free throws.
Cal Poly, who falls to 2-4 on the year, could only muster 6-11 shooting at the line.
On the year the Mustangs are shooting just over 31% from three-point range. Taking away Sanders’ team-high 42% clip, the team is only making 28% of their three-pointers attempted.
Sanders scored a team-high 17 points for Cal Poly making this his sixth straight double-digit performance and bringing his average to 16.2 points per game.
With foul trouble plaguing the Cal Poly starters early on, Smith looked to his bench early and often throughout the game.
The reserves delivered a season-high 27 points with sophomore forward Aaron Price Jr. scoring 15 points, his most in a Mustang uniform.
Perhaps searching for a veteran presence, graduate center Tuukka Jaakkola saw 29 minutes of action in the contest and provided 10 points and a block.
The Mustangs’ stout defense kept the Lancers at bay in the first 20 minutes going into the locker room all knotted up at 26 a piece.
However, three minutes into the second half the Lancers jumped out to an eight-point lead and never surrendered control for the rest of the game, eventually pushing the lead to double digits late in the game.
The Mustangs will have a week off and then return home on Nov. 29 to host the San Jose State Spartans (3-2) inside Mott Athletic Center.