Despite having the lead for more than 80 percent of the game against Cal State Northridge, the Cal Poly men’s basketball team dropped a tightly contested conference matchup 76-74. It was the third Big West Conference loss of the year for Cal Poly (7-10 1-3 Big West), but marked the 15th time this year the Mustang offense has scored over 70 points.
Thursday night’s game against the Matadors (7-12 2-3 Big West) was just the latest competitive conference matchup for the Mustangs. It came five days after their thrilling double overtime victory over Long Beach State at home and a week after a 76-73 last-second loss to Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara.
A three-pointer from sophomore forward Luke Meikle opened the scoring for Cal Poly and gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish until there was less than two minutes to play in the first half. After two made free throws from senior guard David Nwaba in the closing seconds of the half, the Mustangs went into the locker room with a slim 40-39 lead.
Cal Poly kept that lead until a three-pointer from CSUN’s Jerron Wilbut gave the Matadors the lead with 18 seconds to play in the game. The Mustangs were not able to score on their final possession of the game and soon found themselves without a win that was in their grasp the whole night.
Nwaba and senior forward Brian Bennett were the top scorers for Cal Poly with 14 points each. The Mustangs shot over 53 percent from the field and outrebounded the Matadors (36-26), but committed an uncharacteristically high 18 turnovers.
Cal Poly continues its Big West Conference road stretch with a game at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at 4 p.m.