Cal Poly men’s basketball fell to Santa Clara 87-57 in the first game of the SoCal Challenge inside Leavey Center on Friday, Nov. 19.
The away matchup marked the start of the lengthiest Cal Poly road trip in 51 years, with nine straight games away from Mott Athletics Center.
The Broncos (4-0) held the Mustangs (1-3) to 37% shooting and scored 27 points off of turnovers. Cal Poly never held a lead.
Both sides tipped off the game in slow offensive style within the first five minutes, as sophomore forward Kyle Colvin scored the first six points for the Mustangs with two three-pointers.
Midway through the half, Santa Clara started to pull away with an 8-0 scoring run capped off by a clear drive to the basket to extend their lead to 14-6.
At the 7:22 minute mark, Colvin ended a near eight-minute scoreless drought for Cal Poly with yet another three-pointer to cut the deficit to 19-9.
Junior forward Alimamy Koroma and Colvin continued to lead the Mustangs’ attacking efforts with a pair of 3-pointers, including Colvin’s 14th point of the night, but Santa Clara immediately tallied a three-pointer of their own to pull away at 28-17 with 4:52 remaining in the half.
Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams closed out the half at 34-21 with a buzzer-beater layup for his 19th point of the night.
In the first half of play, the Broncos outrebounded the Mustangs 20-16 and held a higher field goal percentage at 39% compared to Cal Poly’s 35%. The Mustangs also turned the ball over 11 times, leading to 13 points for the Broncos.
In less than 30 seconds, Santa Clara opened the second half with a deep three-point shot to keep them ahead at 37-21.
Freshman guard Julien Franklin opened the scoring for the Mustangs in the second half with a pair of free-throws, which was followed by a basket inside the paint from Koroma to bring Cal Poly to within 15 points at 39-25.
However, the Broncos regained their momentum with a 14-2 run to give them a hefty lead at 53-27 with a little under 15 minutes remaining.
Over the next five minutes, both sides continued to exchange baskets and maintain a slow scoring pace until the score was 62-36.
Santa Clara kept the upper hand, pulling even further away with a deep three-pointer to give them a 72-42 advantage at the 6:52 minute mark.
The Mustangs were unable to gain momentum for the rest of the matchup, as the Broncos closed out the game with the 87-57 victory.
Turnovers hurt Cal Poly in a major way, as they committed 20 total turnovers compared to Santa Clara’s 12.
Williams of the Broncos led all players in scoring with 26 points to go along with nine rebounds.
Colvin led the Mustangs with 18 points while Koroma, Franklin and sophomore guard Kobe Sanders each collected nine points in the defeat.
Cal Poly will continue the SoCal Challenge, opening the four-team Sand Bracket with a matchup against Nicholls State inside JSerra Pavilion on Monday, Nov. 12 at noon.