Credit: Diego Rivera | Mustang News

Cal Poly Men’s Basketball fell 66-51 to UC Davis in a match that changed leads 11 times on Saturday, Feb. 1 inside The Pavilion. Each team came into the game with a conference record of 2-4 in search of their third win. 

Sophomore forward Tuukka Jaakkola and sophomore guard Junior Ballard kept Cal Poly (5-16, 2-5 Big West) within distance with a team-high 10 points each. Freshman forward Alimamy Koroma finished close behind with nine points. Senior guard Joe Mooney led UC Davis (9-14, 3-4 Big West) to its first home win in conference play leading all players with 19 points. 

Despite exchanging leads in the first half, the Mustangs failed to lead in the second half and were kept to 36 percent shooting from the field compared to the Aggies’ 42 percent. 

Redshirt junior point guard Keith Smith opened the scoring with a three-point jump shot two minutes into the game. Shortly after, freshman guard Elijah Pepper scored a pair of free-throws to open the Aggies’ scoring and bring the score to 3-2.  

UC Davis took its first lead after junior forward Kennedy Koehler scored a jump shot to bring the game to 4-3. Ballard reversed the lead after scoring back-to-back jump shots followed by a free-throw to put the Mustangs up at 9-4 five minutes into the first half. 

Sophomore forward Tuukka Jaakkola (pictured) and sophomore guard Junior Ballard led the Mustangs with 10 points each. Diego Rivera | Mustang News

The Aggies responded with a 7-0 run, which included a pair of free-throws followed by a three-pointer by freshman guard Ade Adebayo to take an 11-9 lead with 12:56 on the clock. The Mustangs answered with a 5-2 run, granting them a lead that lasted over three minutes at 14-13. 

Over the next seven minutes, the lead changed seven times until a three-point jump shot by redshirt freshman forward Kyle Colvin evened the game at 24-24 with 1:52 remaining in the half. The Aggies converted free-throw opportunities in a 6-1 run to put them up 30-25 at halftime. 

In the first half, the Aggies were led by Mooney and freshman guard Ezra Manjon with nine and eight points, respectively. Cal Poly kept pace with UC Davis thanks to six points from Ballard and four points from Jaakkola. In the first half, the Mustangs made 3 of 9 three-point attempts while the Aggies made 2 of 5 from beyond the arc.  

Within the first minute of the second half, sophomore guard Damion Squire scored a three-pointer to extend the Aggies’ lead by eight points at 33-25. A Jaakkola jump shot gave gave the Mustangs their first points of the half, cutting the deficit to 33-27. 

Both teams exchanged buckets throughout the second half, but the Mustangs were unable to complete a comeback.  

Cal Poly pulled within four points at 39-35 after a layup from Colvin with 12:02 remaining, but the four point deficit was the closest the Mustangs came to evening score.  

The Aggies distanced themselves with a 13-4 run to go ahead by 13 points at 52-39 with six minutes remaining. However, the Mustangs responded with seven unanswered points to cut the deficit to 52-46. Mooney ended the Mustangs’ run with a three-point jumper to put the Aggies up by nine at 55-46 with three minutes left in the game.

A pair of free-throws by Manjon granted the Aggies’ their biggest lead of the game at 66-49 with 31 seconds left on the clock. Freshman guard Colby Rogers scored the Mustangs’ final points with a two-point jumper as the game came to a close at 66-51. 

Cal Poly got out-rebounded by UC Davis 37-32 and committed 18 turnovers compared to UC Davis’ 15.

Cal Poly will look to bounce back in its next game against Long Beach State Wednesday, Feb. 5 inside Mott Athletics Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. 

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