Riley Till (21) has a lay-up blocked in the key as Cal Poly Men’s Basketball faces CSU Northridge on Saturday, January 30, 2021. (MANDATORY CREDIT: Kyle Calzia / Mustang News)

Cal Poly Men’s Basketball split the two-game series with Cal State Northridge after falling 64-51 on Saturday, Jan. 30.

Cal Poly (3-11, 1-7 Big West) were looking to build on their victory the day before, snapping an eight-game losing streak with a 76-70 win over Northridge (6-7, 2-4 Big West). 

Cal Poly began the game with intent going on a 10-1 scoring run in the first five minutes. Sophomore forward Alimamy Koroma got the Mustangs started with a hook-shot following a turnover. Koroma recorded a career high 20 points in the Mustangs first game of the series yesterday, and continued his good form on Saturday. 

Points from Northridge’s Vante Hendrix and Ron Artest brought the score to 10-4, but Cal Poly continued to put the pressure on. Layups from graduate forward Riley Till and freshman forward Dyson Koehler combined to give Cal Poly a 10-point lead with 12 minutes to play in the initial period. 

However, the Matadors found their footing halfway through the first half and started to build momentum. A mid-range jumper and three-point play from Northridge’s TJ Starks boosted the Matadors’ offense and brought the score to 16-9. Starks went on to score seven unanswered points cutting Cal Poly’s lead to just one point with seven minutes left in the half.

The Matadors took their first lead of the game at 21-19 with five minutes left, but Cal Poly responded to retake the lead four minutes later. Three-pointers from Cal Poly’s senior wing Mark Crowe and freshman forward Brantly Stevenson in the final minutes of the half kept the two teams even, tying the score at 27-27. 

The two teams came out hungry the second half, exchanging the lead for the first five minutes of the half. The Matadors then began to pull away, going on a 13-3 scoring run and taking a 10-point lead at 52-42.

Senior guard Keith Smith knocked down a three and a layup with less than five minutes left to bring Cal Poly within five points. Northridge then took control and continued to play on the front foot, outscoring the Mustangs 10-2 from that point to ice the game.

Koroma led the Mustangs in scoring with 13 points on 6-9 shooting, continuing his breakout season. The forward leads the Mustangs in scoring average on the season with 11.9 points per game.

Cal Poly will have 13 days off before their next match on Friday, Feb. 12 against Cal State Fullerton at Mott Athletics Center. 

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