Cal Poly Men’s Basketball’s scoring woes continued as the Mustangs dropped their second straight conference game to CSU Bakersfield 61-51 inside the Icardo Center on Thursday, Jan. 5.
After losing to the University of Hawaii on New Year’s Eve, the Mustangs (7-8, 1-2 Big West) again found themselves in a hole early, allowing the Roadrunners (5-9, 1-2 Big West) to get out to an early lead.
In fact, Bakersfield took a 5-0 lead within the first six minutes of play and never relinquished it.
The lead then ballooned to double digits with 4:51 left in the first half, a half that ended with the Roadrunners holding a 29-16 advantage.
In the first half, the Mustangs shot just 23.81% as the offense continued to struggle.
Bakersfield kept their lead at arm’s length for most of the second half, with Cal Poly only having one run that cut the lead down to six with 2:25 left to play.
After Bakersfield made a free throw, junior guard Kobe Sanders walked his defender down and drilled a three, causing the Roadrunners to call timeout.
Sanders finished with a Cal Poly-leading 14 points. Sanders was, however, the only Mustang to reach double digits scoring as the team was held to 30.8% from the field on the night.
With Cal Poly forced to foul to regain possession, Bakersfield sank five of its subsequent six free throw attempts to maintain the lead and secure victory.
Graduate forward Chance Hunter led the Mustangs in rebounds with eight, and Fleming grabbed Cal Poly’s only steal of the night.
The inability of the Mustangs to generate good shots seemed to be the nail in the coffin on Thursday, as the team was forced to rush low-percentage attempts late in the shot clock all too often.
However, Cal Poly did hold Bakersfield to 40% shooting and, through tough defense, never let the Roadrunners’ lead reach 15 points, giving themselves a shot down the stretch.
The Mustangs will now look ahead to the first Blue-Green Rivalry game of 2023 when UC Santa Barbara makes their way up the coast on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. inside Mott Athletics Center.