Cal Poly Men’s Basketball lost the second game of their double-header 67-50 against CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, Jan. 9 inside Icardo Center.
The Mustangs (2-6, 0-2 Big West) lost their sixth game out of their last seven while the Roadrunners (7-4, 3-1 Big West) extended their winning streak to three games with Saturday’s victory, trying to keep pace with UC Irvine for first place in the Big West Conference.
Bakersfield took an early 11-4 lead in the opening minutes of the first half after some early turnovers from the Mustangs. Cal Poly responded after senior wing Mark Crowe knocked in a three-pointer to bring the score to 11-7 with 13:45 left in the first half.
Cal Poly kept themselves in the game thanks to stifling team defense and good shot selection which led to a three-pointer from sophomore guard Colby Rogers to bring the score to 15-12 with seven minutes left in the first half.
Despite the defensive effort, the Mustangs still found themselves trailing 32-23 at halftime after being outrebounded 22 to 14 and only shooting 36% from the field as a team.
The two teams continued the defensive battle as neither team made a significant run in the opening minutes of the second half. Then, a couple of three-pointers gave the Roadrunners a 43-33 lead with 12:15 left in the second half.
Although the Mustangs struggled to score consistently throughout the second half, their team defense allowed them to cut the deficit to six points. A couple of post move layups from junior forward Tuukka Jaakkola kept the game at 45-39 with 6:30 left in the second half.
The Roadrunners then responded with a 12-2 run to build their lead to 57-41 with 3:14 left in the game. Bakersfield continued to push the pace as they increased their lead to 15 points in the final minute of the ball game.
Freshman point guard Camren Pierce led the Mustangs in scoring with 12 points while Rogers added 11 points of his own in Saturday’s loss.
Although the Mustangs shot a better percentage from the free throw line than Bakersfield, they only shot 14% (3-21) from the three-point line while the Roadrunners shot 37.5% from deep. This proved to be a crucial factor down the stretch as Cal Poly’s cold shooting made it difficult to complete a comeback.
The Mustangs will look to bounce back next week with a two-game home series against UC Riverside starting Friday, Jan. 15 inside Mott Athletic Center.