Cal Poly Men’s Basketball picked up their first conference victory of the 2020-21 season against Cal State Northridge on Friday Jan. 29 inside Mott Athletics Center.
The Mustangs (3-10, 1-6 Big West) secured their first win since Dec. 13 while the Matadors’ (5-7, 1-4 Big West) current losing streak extended to four games with the loss Senior wing Mark Crowe led the Mustangs with 21 points while sophomore forward Alimamy Koroma notched a career best 20 points in the victory.
The game started with the two teams trading baskets the game was tied at 7-7 with 16 minutes left in the period. After a low-post layup from Koroma gave the Mustangs a 9-7 lead, the Matadors responded with a left-wing three-pointer to take back the lead 10-9 with 14:06 left.
The Matadors didn’t slow down through the halfway point of the period as they went on a 11-0 run and extended their lead to 18-9 with 9:22 left in the first half.
Then, the Mustangs cut the deficit to three points with the score at 20-17 after a couple of corner three-pointers from Crowe. All of his nine first half points were from beyond the arc and he made three of the team’s five three-pointers in the first half.
Cal Poly tightened up defensively towards the end of the first half and only trailed by four points with the score at 33-29 by halftime.
Sophomore guard Colby Rogers led the way in scoring for the Mustangs by finishing the first half with 10 points.
The Mustangs had a strong start in the opening minutes of the second half by continuing to stay aggressive defensively and executing in their half court offense. Another wing three-pointer from Crowe capped off a 9-0 run from the Mustangs as they took a 43-38 lead with 15 minutes left.
The two teams then traded leads throughout the middle portion of the second half but the Matadors were able to take a 54-51 advantage with 11 minutes left in the game.
A corner three from Rogers and a crucial three-point play from senior point guard Keith Smith gave the Mustangs a 71-68 advantage with 2:15 left. A low-post hook shot from Koroma gave the Mustangs a 75-70 lead with under a minute left in regulation and iced the game for the Mustangs.
The game stayed close throughout the final minutes of the second half thanks to the team defense forcing turnovers and a great shooting night from Koroma, Crowe, and Rogers. The trio finished with a combined 56 points for the game.
Crowe tied a career high in three-point field goals made after shooting 6-10 from beyond the arc. Grabbing offensive rebounds was also crucial for Cal Poly’s victory down the stretch, and they recorded 19 assists compared to a season-low six turnovers.
The Mustangs will look to sweep the Matadors in their second game of their two-game series on Saturday, Jan. 30 inside Mott Athletics Center.