Cal Poly men’s basketball defeated the UC Davis Aggies 82-74 on Saturday, Jan. 15th at Mott Athletics Center.
The Mustangs (4-10, 1-2 Big West) snapped their four game losing streak against the Aggies (7-5, 0-1 Big West) to get their first win in the Big West.
Cal Poly came out with energy on the defensive end, as they switched between multiple defensive schemes to not let UC Davis get in a rhythm offensively.
The Mustangs turned Davis’ missed shots into transition offense to build a 14-4 lead in the first six minutes of the game. Junior forward Alimamy Koroma scored six points from the inside to start the game while sophomore guard Camren Pierce hit a three.
Cal Poly held a sizable lead for the whole first half and, after Kyle Colvin drove to the basket and made a spin move around the defender for a layup, they led 21-7. The Mustangs would head into the break with a 37-27 lead.
The Aggies made a run in the second half led by center Christian Anigwe, who finished the game with 20 points on 10-15 shooting. He got on the offensive glass when Cal Poly was forced to play a small lineup while Koroma dealt with foul trouble.
UC Davis denied passing lanes and pressured the ball, which flustered the Cal Poly offense. The lead shrunk to two points with 12 minutes left in the game.
When Koroma came back in, he turned the tide of the game. He had a sequence late in the second half where he blocked two shots in a row and then ran the floor and cleaned up a missed layup.
He scored 21 points along with five blocks as he also showed his ability to stretch the floor when he popped out for a three-pointer. His two-way presence helped Cal Poly build the lead back up and ultimately come out on top, 82-74.
According to Koroma, head coach John Smith told him “we don’t win unless you lead us.”
Koroma was struggling with foul trouble early and was taken out of the game. However, after his discussion with coach Smith on the bench, he came in and dominated the rest of the game.
“We just wanted to win,” Koroma said. “Last game was kind of disappointing. We had the lead and gave it up. We wanted to give these fans what they deserve.”
Pierce came up big in the win as well, as he tied his career high of 15 points and dished out eight assists.
“Just be calm,” Pierce said about handling the defense of UC Davis. “We knew coming in they were going to be physical and deny.”
Cal Poly’s defense was also a strong point throughout the game. When asked about the key to the defense, Pierce said it was about “staying together.”
Pierce also mentioned the fans at Mott Center.
“That was my first time having a crowd like that at Mott,” Pierce said. “Hopefully we get people coming out. Keep winning. Let’s have some fun, man.”
The Mustangs’ next game is against the University of Hawai’i at Mott Athletic Center on Saturday, Jan 22 at 7 p.m.