Credit: Owen Roberts | Mustang News, 2023

Cal Poly Men’s Basketball lost in crushing fashion to CSU Northridge by a score of 64-53 on Saturday, Feb. 11 inside Premier America Credit Union Arena.

The Mustangs (7-19, 1-13 Big West) led by as much as 16 in the second half before the Matadors (6-19, 3-11 Big West) stormed back to win by double digits.

The game started out slow for both teams, but CSUN jumped out to a four-point lead with two jumpers before Cal Poly found their groove and started to respond.

After senior guard Trevon Taylor hit a layup to take a 10-8 lead, the teams started to trade baskets.

In an eight-minute stretch that ended at the three-minute mark, Cal Poly went on a 13-2 run bookended by jumpers from junior center Bryan Penn-Johnson.

Northridge, however, clawed back to cut the lead to 28-20 at the halftime break.

The Matadors came out of the halftime break firing, making back-to-back three-pointers to open the second half.

It didn’t seem to phase the Mustangs, though, as those were six of just eight points that they gave up in the first seven minutes of the half. 

Cal Poly didn’t slack on the offensive end either, scoring 16 points to double their halftime lead and push it to a game-high 16.

The game looked all but over as the Mustangs could cruise home with a big lead, but Northridge decided to go off-script.

It started slow, with Northridge going on a 7-0 run after Cal Poly took the 16-point lead. Although a three-pointer from graduate forward Chance Hunter seemed to possibly kill the run, the home team refused to go away.

The Matadors turned around and started up an 8-0 run immediately afterward and forced Cal Poly to call a timeout to staunch the bleeding.

Junior guard Kobe Sanders proceeded to pick up a technical foul after a loose ball scrum left him and a Matador fighting for a ball on the ground. After Northridge hit both technical free throws, the Mustang lead was at four with 6:30 left in the game.

Onyi Eyisi of the Matadors then went on a personal 4-0 run to go with a block on senior center Alimamy Koroma in the span of a minute to make it a one-point game at the four-minute media break.

Coming out of the media timeout, Cal Poly turned it over after a backcourt call and committed a foul just before the shot clock buzzer sounded.

Shooting one and one, Northridge hit both to take a one-point lead. Penn-Johnson was then fouled on the other end, and he split the free throws to tie the game up. 

Sanders was then sent to the line with under two minutes to play, but Sanders could not hit the front end of the bonus free throw.

Northridge smelled blood and proceeded to blitz the Mustangs to the tune of seven points in 40 seconds to climb to a seven-point lead with under a minute to play.

The game was all but over, with Cal Poly desperately trying to catch up with the free throw game. When the final horn sounded, the Matadors walked away with an 11-point win.

Junior guard Brantly Stevenson led the team with 14 points while Taylor came off the bench with double digits. Cal Poly, which shoots free throws with the best in the nation, shot 9-for-17 (52.9%) from the line.

The Mustangs will look to snap their 13-game losing streak on Wednesday, Feb. 15 against CSU Bakersfield inside Mott Athletics Center.