There was no Larry Bird in Mott Gym Monday night. No Peja Stojakovic. No Ray Allen. But there was something like a three-point contest in the first half.
The Mustangs shot 4 for 13 from beyond the arc and entered the break ahead 36-27, while the visiting Long Beach State 49ers went 0-9.
Wising up in the second half, the 49ers began to drive to the hoop, ditching the long ball for a more physical style of play.
Cal Poly men’s basketball had no answer surrendering 52 second-half points and fell 79-66 in a Big West conference game.
The Mustangs are now 1-8 on the season when scoring less than 70 points. Once both teams discovered the effectiveness of driving to the basket, the second half provided for a bruiser to the final play. The 21 free throws attempted in the final 20 minutes by the 49ers were a reflection of the aggressive play.
“We knew if we got to the basket, the refs would make the calls,” said 49er guard Aaron Nixon, who finished with a team-high 15 points.
In the first half, the Mustangs were as three-happy as Kobe Bryant on heat-check, and Long Beach was just as happy to compete.
Bromley paced the sideline coyly – like a guy analyzing his income statement – while the Long Beach State sideline looked like it was at a rave.
The three-point exhibition was nothing new for the Mustangs who throw up about 20 per game.
The loss moved the Mustangs to 2-2 in conference and 4-10 on the season.
Starring for the Mustangs was forward Derek Stockalper who finished with 18 points.
Both highly-acclaimed guards, Dawin Whiten for Cal Poly and Jibril Hodges for Long Beach State, stayed contained most of the night.
Whiten remained quiet in the scoring department but contributed seven rebounds and five assists. Hodges, averaging 14 points per game this season, finished with just nine points.
But four 49ers finished in double figures to make up for it. Shawn Hawkins finished with 15 points, Kejuan Johnson 14 points and Louis Darby 10.
The Mustangs saw their last lead, 50-49, at the 8:28 mark before the 49ers took over. Slowly the 49ers pulled away with jumpers from Nixon and the inside play of Hawkins. The dagger came at the 3:13 mark when Hodges hit a long three-pointer to give Long Beach State a 66-61 lead.
The Mustangs travel to UC Davis on Friday.