Cal Poly men’s basketball came up short against Cal State University Bakersfield and fell 73-60 on Tuesday, Jan. 18 inside the Icardo Center.
Cal Poly (4-11, 1-3 Big West) dropped this game after ending a four-game losing streak in their previous matchup against UC Davis. With the win, Bakersfield (6-6, 1-2 Big West) got back to .500 on the season.
Junior big man Alimamy Koroma was the offensive force on the night for the Mustangs with a game-high 18 points to go with his game-high seven rebounds.
The Mustangs opened the game with momentum, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after a jumpshot by Koroma followed by a three-pointer by junior guard Trevon Taylor. They extended the lead to eight by a score of 17-9 just past the ten minute mark of the half on a three-pointer by sophomore combo guard Kobe Sanders. Sanders and Taylor were both important pieces of the game, each playing more than 30 minutes and scoring 12 points each.
The largest lead in the game for Cal Poly was nine points, which they held after a free throw by Koroma with just 3:05 left in the half to go up 30-21. Then, Bakersfield kicked it into gear and made a run to end the half. Over the final 2:43 of the first half, the Roadrunners went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 30 going into halftime.
The game was a tale of two halves, as Bakersfield took over in the second half and Cal Poly never held a lead.
The second half opened with a jumpshot by Bakersfield’s Kaleb Higgins, who led the Roadrunners with 17 points. A jumper by Koroma on the next possession down the floor tied the game, but that was as close as Cal Poly came for the remainder of the night.
The Roadrunner lead stretched to eight, 34-42, with 14:33 left in the game following a layup by Bakersfield’s Shawn Stith, who was an important part of the Roadrunners formula to victory with 16 points and seven rebounds. With 10:33 left in the game, Taylor got an and-one and converted the free throw to cut the deficit to six points.
However, that is as close as Cal Poly came to retaking the lead. The Mustangs continued to chip away, but were never able to close the gap. A jumper by Higgins with 23 seconds remaining established a 15-point lead, the largest of the night. Free throws before the final buzzer by Taylor cut the lead to 60-73, which was the final score on the night.
Free throws were a large part of the game, with both teams getting north of 20 attempts. Cal Poly converted 17-24, while Bakersfield made 22-29 from the stripe. The major difference in the game came from bench points, with Bakersfield dominating in that category 36-6.
The Mustangs outshot the Roadrunners by converting 56.3% of their shot attempts compared to Bakersfield’s 43.4%. However, Bakersfield won the rebound margin 31 to 20, which led to the Roadrunners outscoring the Mustangs 14 to zero in second chance points.
Cal Poly will have an opportunity to bounce back later in the week when they return home to face off against Hawaii on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. inside Mott Athletics Center.