The Cal Poly men’s basketball team lost 87-71 against Long Beach State in a Big West Conference matchup held in Mott Athletics Center Thursday night.
The Mustangs (6-14, 1-5 Big West) were physically dominated by the 49ers (11-12, 5-2 Big West) on the low block and were out-rebounded 45-28. Junior guard Donovan Fields led the Mustangs with 17 points and seven assists. Meanwhile, 49ers’ forwards senior Gabe Levin and junior Yussuf Temidayo led their team. Levin posted 21 points and eight rebounds and Temidayo notched a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams displayed tough defense at the start of the game. After forcing several turnovers, the teams settled into a tight first half which featured seven lead changes in the first nine minutes. Junior forward Josh Martin got the Mustangs going early after two back-to-back monster dunks orchestrated by pinpoint passes from Fields.
The 49ers held an 11-point lead at the end of the first half but extended their lead after halftime when freshman guard Edon Maxhuni converted a four-point-play to keep the 49ers comfortably ahead 52-36. Minutes later, Levin converted an and-one to give Long Beach a 22-point lead, their largest of the night, with a little more than 14 minutes left in the game.
After both teams traded baskets, Cal Poly remained behind after allowing several offensive rebounds and second-chance points. With their activity on the glass, Long Beach State kept their lead at 22 with just more than six minutes remaining in regulation after Yussuf converted an and-one putback.
“We don’t have the physical presence as our opponents, but that should not stop us from learning how to adjust to that,” Mustangs head coach Joe Callero said. “You have to admit that you’re physically overwhelmed first to be able to make that adjustment.”
Cal Poly fought back late in the game and decrease the deficit to 13 after a three-point jumper by Fields. However, the lead was too large to overcome and the 49ers finished the game with a final score of 87-71.
Cal Poly is now second to last in the Big West Conference, but players are still looking to get the team back in the winning column.
“I think it’s just taking every day as a new day. Make your next play your best play,” senior forward Luke Meikle said. “You can get hung up on the bad stuff, [but] we got to move on and if you do mess up, you have to try and make up for it and try to approach each possession, each game as a new opportunity.”
Cal Poly continues Big West Conference play at UC Davis Saturday at 5 p.m.