Junior forward Derek Stockalper scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds, two days after posting his fourth double-double of the season, to lead Cal Poly to a 76-72 victory over Cal State Fullerton in a Big West men’s basketball game Saturday afternoon in Mott Gym.
Sophomore guard Dawin Whiten added 14 points, junior forward Tyler McGinn had 13 and freshman guard Chaz Thomas chipped in 12 as Cal Poly improved to 9-16 overall and 7-5 in the Big West.
Cal State Fullerton, led by Frank Robinson with 18 points and Jamaal Brown with 11 points and 12 rebounds, fell to 13-12 overall and 5-9 in the Big West. Jermaine Harper added 15 points and Vershan Cottrell had 11.
The loss ends the Titans’ chances of a first round bye in the Big West Tournament next week, adding to what has already been a diappointing season for coach Bob Burton. The Titans were picked to win the conference in both the pre-season media and coaches polls.
For Cal Poly, the win all but solidifies a three or four seed at the conference tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena next week. With two games remaining, Cal Poly holds a two-game lead over UC Santa Barbara.
In order for Cal Poly to lose the three or four seed, which guarantees a first round bye at the tournament, the Mustangs would have to lose its final games and the Gauchos would need a pair of wins, then comes a tie-breaker to decide which team gets the bye.
Long Beach State is tied with Cal Poly at 7-5 and is in a similar situation.
Cal Poly led Fullerton 39-37 at halftime and scored the first eight points of the second half for a 49-39 advantage with 18:06 to play. Thomas scored a layup to cap the run.
Cal State Fullerton battled back, surging ahead 64-62 with 6:10 to go on a pair of free throws by Brown. Cal Poly regained the lead, this time for good, on a jumper by Titus Shelton with 3:34 to play, giving the Mustangs a 70-68 lead. Trae Clark and Thomas each hit a pair of free throws for a 74-68 Mustang advantage with 31 seconds left.
Cal Poly topped Cal State Fullerton on the glass 33-31 and turned the ball over just 11 times, three fewer than the Titans. The Mustangs made 50.9 percent of their floor shots compared to 50 percent for the Titans. Cal Poly connected on 10 of 26 3-pointers while Cal State Fullerton was just nine-for-32.
Center Gabe Stephenson and senior guard R.J. Socci were honored in a pregame ceremony honoring Cal Poly’s two seniors playing their final home game.
Cal Poly concludes the regular season on the road, visiting Cal State Northridge on Thursday night and University of the Pacific on Saturday afternoon.