Kobe Sanders (3) drives to the basket in Cal Poly Men's Basketball's 80-62 win over La Verne on Monday, Nov. 6. Credit: Brandon Bomberger

Cal Poly Men’s Basketball picked up their first win of the 2023-2024 season on Monday, Nov. 6.

The Mustangs were coming off a double-digit loss to Division 2 Cal State Los Angeles in the game prior and were looking to avenge the upset.

“You only get one chance to show a first impression. We came out to kill and we started off hot and kept the momentum,” senior wing Kobe Sanders said.

The Mustangs (1-0) came out tough from the jump, took the lead and never looked back, beating the Division 3 University of La Verne 80-62.

The star of the game for the Mustangs was a fresh face not too many are familiar with, junior center Joel Armotrading.

Armotrading picked up five monstrous blocks making his paint presence felt defensively and also leading the Mustangs with 21 points as well.

The junior center finished everything around the basket with touch shots around the basket or skying for putbacks above the rim.

“I just try to be strong, athletic, and appreciate my teammates for putting me in positions to score,” Armotrading said. “I’m going to keep getting better, I’ll just keep doing my part.”

Kobe Sanders showed his true game, taking charges and rising up for midrange jumpers over smaller defenders. The San Diego native added 16 points for the Mustangs, draining two three-pointers and shooting 40% from the field. 

Sanders is the highest-minute returner for the Mustangs, and the team will look to him to be a focal point on both ends.

Two freshman Mustangs scored their first NCAA points on Monday.

Freshman guard Quentin Jones made the start at the shooting guard position and scored four points in his college debut on 2-6 shooting. 

Freshman point guard Jackson Mosley also checked in the game in the last minute for the Mustangs and immediately first touch of the basketball Mosley drove through the lane and drew a foul and made both free throws.

Head Coach John Smith challenged his team to guard full court the entirety of the game while still trying to score early in the shot clock on offense. 

The defensive pressure worked as the Leopards’ were forced into 17 turnovers.

However, after turning the ball over 20 times in the team’s exhibition loss to Cal State Los Angeles on Nov. 2, the Mustangs turned the ball over 17 times themselves.

“Having nine new guys it’s tough, we’ll have four minute spurts and drop off,” Smith said. “We are trying to get this consistency to come and it will, week by week.”

The Mustangs will travel to Denver this Thursday to take on the Denver Pioneers and will not play back at Mott until November 29th against San Jose State.