Cal Poly Men’s Basketball won in their 2020-2021 season opener against the Bethesda Flames by a score of 100-46 on Friday, Nov. 27 inside Mott Athletics Center.
The Mustangs (1-0) are looking to improve on head coach John Smith’s first season with the program where they finished last in the Big West Conference with an overall record of 7-23 (4-12 Big West).
In the opening minutes of the first half, the Mustangs were able to capitalize on their size advantage against Bethesda as Cal Poly’s team defense and shooting helped them take an early 8-0 lead.
The Mustangs continued to be the aggressors on both offense and defense which helped build their lead to 16-3 with 13 minutes left in the first half. A left-wing three-pointer from freshman guard Kobe Sanders expanded the Mustangs’ lead further to 20-7 at the halfway mark in the first half.
The Mustangs continued to play good team defense both on the perimeter and in the paint as they held Bethesda to 28% shooting from the field.
Graduate forward and Iowa transfer Riley Till led the way in the first half on both sides of the court in his Cal Poly debut as he led the team in points, rebounds and blocks heading into halftime.
The Mustangs continued to play stifling team defense and pushed the tempo on offense as they opened the second half on a 19-4 scoring run which grew Cal Poly’s lead to 60-31 with 14 minutes left in the second half.
Till finished the game leading all scorers with 17 points, shooting a perfect 7-7 from the field along with seven rebounds while senior wing Mark Crowe contributed 15 points of his own.
The Mustangs continued their high-level play as they closed the remaining 5:41 of the game on a 20-1 scoring run and finished the game shooting 55% from the field as a team.
Despite making almost as many three-pointers as the Mustangs, the Flames’ offensive struggles continued throughout the second half as they finished the game shooting 28% from the field. The Mustangs outrebounded Bethesda by a wide margin of 47-28 and scored 36 points off of the Flames’ 22 turnovers, which proved to play a significant factor in the victory.
Cal Poly’s next matchup is scheduled to take place on Friday, Dec. 4 at the University of San Francisco, who recently pulled off an upset against No. 4-ranked Virginia in their last game.