Cal Poly Men’s Basketball lost in heartbreaking fashion in an overtime battle with Big West rival UC Davis on Saturday, Feb. 27 inside Mott Athletics Center.
The Mustangs (3-17, 1-13 Big West) started off slow as turnovers and missed shots allowed the Aggies (7-4, 4-3 Big West) to gain a significant lead through the first half. The Mustangs kept the game within reach with their offense as freshman forward Brantly Stevenson contributed five points along with sophomore guard Colby Rogers adding two free throws to cut the deficit to 15-10 at the 11:43 mark.
As the first half continued, the Mustangs put up a fighting effort with their offense to make up for their defensive struggles. Freshman guard Aidan Prukop made a three-point shot off the bench and Rogers hit both of his free throws to make the score 20-17 with seven minutes left in the first half. It remained close through the end of the first half as the game went into halftime with the score sitting at 32-26 in favor of the Aggies.
The Mustangs struggled through the first half to capitalize on turnovers and missed shots from the Aggies, but were able to keep the game close through physical play in the paint and by making consistent shots at the free throw line.
The second half started with the Aggies continuing their offensive success with a three-pointer, making the score 39-31 at the 17:01 mark. The Mustangs forced a change in momentum as sophomore forward Alimamy Koroma subbed into the game and made an immediate impact with back-to-back layups and two made free throws to make the score 44-38 at the 12:53 mark. Koroma continued to make his presence felt with back-to-back trips to the free throw line and a clutch rebound, setting up a layup from graduate forward Riley Till to cut the deficit to one point.
The Mustangs continued their fight back into the game as Rogers and Koroma double-teamed a Davis ball carrier to force a turnover, leading to a Rogers three that made the score 55-52 with five minutes left. Stevenson forced another turnover allowing senior Mark Crowe to make a clutch three, tying the game at 55. Stevenson followed up by giving the Mustangs their first lead of the game with another three-point shot, making the score 58-57 with four minutes left in regulation. With time whittling down, neither team could keep the lead as the game ended with a missed shot from Cal Poly, forcing the game into overtime tied at 66.
Overtime began with the Aggies winning the tip and laying up a shot at the 4:40 mark making the score 66-68. This would be the only basket scored in overtime as both teams struggled from the field. The game ended with a failed three-point attempt from Cal Poly.
Though the Mustangs struggled early, they were able to fight back to force the game into overtime with physical play in the paint and clutch shots from the three-point line. Cal Poly finished shooting a better three-point percentage (47.4%) than the Aggies (33.3%).
The Mustangs finish their season with back-to-back games against UC Santa Barbara starting on Friday, March. 5 in Santa Barbara, California.