Credit: Courtesy | Ian Billings, Cal Poly Athletics 2023

Cal Poly Men’s Basketball fell in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament to UC Santa Barbara by a score of 64-54 inside the Dollar Loan Arena.

This loss ended the Mustangs’ (8-25, 1-18 Big West) season and marked the 12th straight loss to the Gauchos (25-7, 15-5 Big West), and the 19th in the past 20 games.

After a scorching hot shooting night on Tuesday against Long Beach State, Cal Poly shot 1-for-12 from three against a strong Gaucho squad.

The game opened up as a back-and forth-affair, with Cal Poly taking a slight advantage to begin.

The Mustangs had the first big run of the game, an 11-2 stretch to take a 10-point lead with seven minutes left in the half.

However, UC Santa Barbara instantly cut the lead in half at 22-17. The Mustangs rode 15 first-half points from senior center Alimamy Koroma and strong team defense to a 32-26 lead at the half.

Coming out of the half, Cal Poly gave up a quick five points to cut its lead down to one.

Although they recovered to hold onto the lead, a 5-0 run made it a 38-37 advantage for the Gauchos at the 14:13 mark, their first lead since three minutes into the game.

The Mustangs refused to go quietly, however, as they kept it close throughout the rest of the game.

Junior guard Brantly Stevenson had a streak of eight straight Mustang points late into the second half in an effort to save the season.

However, Cal Poly could not outscore the Gauchos down the stretch as Stevenson fouled out and UC Santa Barbara hit their free throw, leading to a 64-54 loss for the Mustangs.

It was a tale of two halves, as Cal Poly shot 34.6% from the field in the final 20 minutes after their strong first half while the Gauchos shot 54.2% in the second half.

Stevenson led the team in points with 18 and Koroma followed closely behind with 17. Junior guard Camren Pierce was the only other player with more than five points, tallying 10 points of his own.

With the loss, Cal Poly finished the year 8-25, bringing the record under fourth-year head coach John Smith to 26-89.