Cal Poly men’s basketball fell to Mount Saint Mary’s by a score of 73-68 on Sunday, Nov. 20 inside Mott Athletics Center.
The zone defense of the Mustangs (1-3) generated eight steals, but the Mountaineers (2-3) held Cal Poly to just nine points off those turnovers en route to the win.
The game started off tightly contested and fast-paced, as the teams traded baskets back and forth and neither squad had a lead greater than six in the first half.
With 9:15 left in the first half, Mount St. Mary’s guard Jalen Benjamin received a technical for flopping, a new rule instituted for this season.
Then, with under two minutes left to play in the half, Cal Poly’s senior center Alimamy Koroma was also called for a flop, picking up the technical foul.
The teams entered the break with the Mountaineers holding a four-point advantage at 30-26. After the first 20 minutes, Cal Poly was led by senior forward Trevon Taylor, who had seven points and six rebounds.
The second half opened up slowly, as the first points were not scored until three minutes in when graduate forward Chance Hunter layed it in to cut the Mountaineer lead in half.
However, the Mountaineers broke the game open with 14 minutes to play with a 14-1 run led by Benjamin, who scored seven of those points on his own.
Cal Poly then responded with a 12-3 run with eight minutes to play, knocking the lead back down to six, but Mount St. Mary’s answered right back with their own 9-1 run to begin to distance themselves.
The Mustangs tried to claw back, outscoring the Mountaineers by seven in the final two minutes of the game. However, the lead was too much to overcome and the final buzzer sounded with the score at 73-68 in favor of Mount St. Mary’s.
Taylor ended the night with a double-double, tallying 17 points and 10 rebounds. Hunter led the way in the scoring category for Cal Poly, pouring in 18 points, 15 of which came in the second half.
The Mustangs play in the second game of the California Thanksgiving Jam when they host the University of Idaho on Wednesday, Nov. 23 inside Mott Athletics Center at 4 p.m.