Cal Poly men’s basketball won their final regular-season game of the year 80-76 against UC San Diego on Saturday, Mar. 5 inside Mott Athletics Center.
Cal Poly (7-20, 3-12 Big West) ended their season on a high note, picking up their second consecutive win for the first time this year. UC San Diego (13-16, 7-11 Big West) held a double-digit lead in both halves, but was unable to maintain the lead as their two-game winning streak was snapped.
The Mustang sophomores provided the offense on the night with guards Brantly Stevenson and Kobe Sanders both scoring 17 points to lead the team. Stevenson also had a game-high seven rebounds. Fellow sophomore guard Camren Pierce recorded the game’s only double-double with 12 points and 11 assists while running the point.
The game opened with the teams trading baskets until the score was tied 8-8. Six of those Mustang points came on two three-pointers by Sanders within the first four minutes of gametime.
A little over three minutes later, UC San Diego made a three-pointer to tie the game at 16. The next Triton basket gave them a 18-16 lead, and they maintained that lead for most of the game.
That basket was a part of a 23-10 run by UC San Diego. The final basket of the run was a three-pointer with 2:36 remaining in the first half, which resulted in the Tritons largest lead of the half at 36-26.
Two Mustang layups before a Triton jumpshot solidified the first half scoring, giving UC San Diego a 38-30 lead going into the break.
A Sanders three-pointer less than two minutes and fifteen seconds into the second half cut the Triton lead to only four. However, the Mustangs had difficulties erasing the lead completely and began to trade baskets with the Tritons.
With 13:30 left in the game, Pierce made a jump shot to bring the lead back down to five. Then, after trading a few possessions, the lead was brought back down to five following a three-pointer by sophomore forward Kyle Colvin.
Two three-pointers on consecutive possessions by UC San Diego pushed the lead to 11 to give the Tritons the largest lead of the game.
Cal Poly responded with a 14-5 run of their own that was capped off by a layup from junior guard Trevon Taylor to bring the game within striking distance with just over six minutes left. With just under three and a half minutes remaining, Pierce connected on a layup to give the Mustangs their first lead at 68-67 since early in the first half.
It was quickly lost, however, as UC San Diego connected on a three-pointer on the next possession down the floor.
Pierce once again came up big, making a jump shot to tie the game at 70. Following a few critical possessions, junior big man Alimamy Koroma connected on a jump shot to give the Mustangs a four-point lead. The Tritons fought back to tie the game with 20 seconds left, but free throws by Pierce followed by Stevenson on the next two possessions secured the victory for Cal Poly down the stretch 80-76.
The Mustangs were outscored from the three-point line 36-24, but held the advantage with points in the paint by a margin of 34-24. The Mustangs now look ahead to the Big West tournament, where they will look to keep the momentum as the No. 10 seed.
Cal Poly will take on No. 7 seed UC Davis in the Big West Tournament on Tuesday, Mar. 8 at 8:30 p.m. inside the Dollar Loan Center in Henderson Nevada.