Mustang News Staff Report
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Continuing its streak of good play, the Cal Poly men’s basketball team beat Cal State Fullerton 65-54 for its third consecutive conference win. The Mustangs (13-11, 6-6 Big West Conference) were led by junior guard Reese Morgan, who topped all scorers with 21 points off the bench.
The Titans (9-17, 1-10) could not stop a second-half surge from Cal Poly, failing to improve on their last-place standing in the Big West. The Mustangs committed only seven turnovers, compared to the Titans’ 14. Coming into the contest, Cal Poly was ranked third in the nation in fewest turnovers per game.
A tight first half of play was highlighted by good defense on both sides, as the Mustangs and Titans combined for less than 50 points. Fullerton’s offensive playmaker, junior guard Lanerryl Johnson, was limited to only eight points in the first half and 10 on the night.
Cal Poly came out of halftime with a two-point lead and never seemed to waver. A fluid offense took advantage of some hot shooting from beyond the arc. Morgan went 4-for-6 while the Mustangs hit eight from downtown.
The statline is semi-misleading, as the Titans shot an impressive 54.5 percent from the floor — better than the Mustangs mark of 46.8 percent — but only sank three 3-pointers.
Senior guard Maliik Love collected 12 points and was clutch from the free throw line in the second half, going 4-for-5 from the charity stripe in crucial situations. Junior forward Brian Bennett was the only other Cal Poly player to score in double figures, scoring 10 points and nabbing seven rebounds.
With the win, the Mustangs move into a tie for fifth place alongside Hawaii and Saturday’s opponent, UC Riverside. Cal Poly remains a half-game back of fourth-place UC Santa Barbara and a full game behind third-place Long Beach State.
A confident Mustangs team takes on conference foe UC Riverside on Saturday at 7 p.m.