Credit: Kayla Stuart | Mustang News, 2022

Cal Poly Men’s Basketball went on a dominant second-half run but fell apart down the stretch in an 83-78 overtime loss versus UC Riverside on Monday, Jan. 17 inside the SRC Arena. 

The Mustangs (7-11, 1-5 Big West) continued their conference struggles in the new year with another heartbreaking loss to the second-place Highlanders (13-6, 6-1 Big West). 

Senior guard Trevon Taylor started the game with a three-pointer to open up scoring. 

His success continued throughout the night, putting up a season-best 21 points thanks to going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc while dishing out a trio of assists and snagging three rebounds.

Graduate forward Chance Hunter and Taylor drained three-pointers to put the Mustangs up 19-18 in the first half However, the defense loosened up and the Highlanders scored six straight to force a Cal Poly timeout while trailing 24-19. 

The Highlanders continued the strong play out of the timeout, stretching the lead to nine before a late first-half steal by junior combo guard Kobe Sanders and an assist on a Hunter three-pointer made the score 32-26 in favor of Riverside at halftime. 

Sanders finished with a solid all-around performance, collecting 15 points, five rebounds and six assists. 

Taylor scored five quick points out of halftime and Sanders added another three-pointer to cut the Highlander lead to one. 

Junior center Bryan Penn-Johnson added a pair of dunks and Taylor scored six points in a matter of 37 seconds to take a 51-48 lead with nine minutes remaining. 

The Mustangs put on five more points to cap off a 22-7 run with seven minutes left in the game. 

From there, however, the team slowly fell apart, losing momentum and, eventually, the lead.

The Green and Gold were up 64-60 until three straight scoring possessions from UC Riverside flipped the lead. 

Senior forward Alimamy Koroma came up big late in regulation, as he was fouled going to the rim and hit both his free throws to force overtime with the score at 66-66.

In overtime, there was no stopping the Highlanders, who were perfect from the field, going 4-for-4 from the field and converting all eight of their shots from the charity stripe. 

As a team, the Mustangs hit 11 three-pointers and shot an impressive 65.2% in the second half to go with a perfect 9-for-9 from the line. However, the most notable mark on the stat sheet is yet another Big West loss for Mustangs. 

Cal Poly’s conference games continue on Thursday, Jan. 19 with a tip-off against UC San Diego at 7 p.m. inside Mott Athletics Center.