Cal Poly Men’s Basketball dropped another Big West matchup, 71-64, against UC San Diego on Thursday, Jan. 19 inside Mott Athletics Center.
The Mustangs (7-12, 1-5 Big West) have now lost their last six games. Meanwhile, the Tritons (7-12, 2-5 Big West) used the Thursday night win to snap their previous five-game losing streak.
UCSD jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but back-to-back threes from senior guard Trevon Taylor got the Mustangs back even.
After the Tritons held a narrow 15-14 lead, UCSD went on a 6-2 run to extend their lead to 21-16 with 9:11 left in the half.
Out of a media timeout, Taylor hit a quick three and slammed a dunk home to get Cal Poly within two. Taylor finished the half with 13 points, leading all Mustang scorers in the first.
With 3:42 left, UCSD held a slim 30-26 lead. Back-to-back buckets from junior guard Brantly Stevenson tied the game, and a slam from senior center Ali Koroma gave Cal Poly a 32-30 lead going into a media timeout.
However, the Tritons ended the half on a 7-0 scoring run, taking a 37-32 lead into halftime.
At the 17:11 mark in the second, UCSD’s lead shrunk to 39-36. A lay-in from Koroma combined with a three from Stevenson surged the Mustangs ahead 41-39 with 14:50 to play.
With the layup, Koroma surpassed 1,000 career points in his Cal Poly career. He is the 25th player in program history to reach that mark.
The two squads stalemated at 48-48 before the Tritons’ offense exploded once again for another 9-1 run to take a 57-49 lead with 7:41 left.
Out of the timeout, Stevenson hit a long two-pointer coupled with a three from graduate guard Nick Fleming to tie the game at 57-57.
Down the stretch, however, UCSD’s offense proved to be too much for the Mustang defense, finishing on a 14-7 scoring run to close out their 71-64 victory.
“Both teams did a great job of attacking mismatches tonight,” head coach John Smith said. “We executed at times but didn’t execute down the stretch and that was the difference.”
After jumping out to 13 first-half points, Taylor finished with 18 points and a team-leading seven rebounds. Stevenson’s 13 second-half points pushed him to a team-high 20 points.
“My main focus is to get back to myself and do what I can to help this team win,” Stevenson said about his second-half performance.
Turnovers played a large part in the Tritons’ victory push, with the Mustangs committing 16 turnovers compared to UCSD’s five.
“We just got to get one and continue to believe that this team is good enough,” Coach Smith said about the team’s losing streak. “We’ve shown it in bits and spurts, but the mental part is a struggle.”
Cal Poly will look to end its six-game skid when they travel to take on rival UC Davis on Saturday, Jan. 21 inside the University Credit Union Center.