Cal Poly Men’s Basketball suffered a series sweep after a 67-44 loss to UC Irvine on Saturday, Jan. 23 inside Bren Events Center.
The Mustangs (2-10, 0-6 Big West) looked to snap a seven-game losing streak in addition to earning their first win against a Big West opponent this season. Meanwhile, the Anteaters (8-4, 4-0 Big West) won their sixth straight game and remained undefeated against conference opponents thus far in the season.
The Anteaters jumped out to an early 7-1 lead in the opening minutes of the game after a couple of made baskets from forward Brad Greene and guard Jeron Artest. A couple defensive stops from the Mustangs and an elbow jump shot from freshman forward Brantly Stevenson cut Irvine’s lead to 12-11 at the midpoint of the first half.
A corner three-pointer from Cal Poly sophomore guard Colby Rogers gave the Mustangs their first lead of the game with the score at 20-18 with five minutes left in the first half. Then, Irvine closed the first half on a 10-3 run to gain a 28-23 lead at halftime.
Although Irvine led at the half, the first period was a very even matchup with both teams struggling shooting. Cal Poly shot 22% from the field while the Anteaters made 28.6% of their attempts.
Irvine continued to stay aggressive and went on a blistering 19-2 run in the opening minutes of the second half to extend their lead to 44-24 with 16:11 left. Irvine’s run was led by forward Collin Welp, who scored 10 straight points for the Anteaters to extend their lead.
Cal Poly continued to fight for a late comeback, but the Mustangs’ turnovers and low shooting percentage from the field kept the game out of reach with the score at 63-40 with six minutes left in the game.
Cal Poly was outscored 39-21 in the second half and finished shooting 27.9% from the field for the game for a season-low 44 points. The Mustangs committed a total of 18 turnovers in the game, which led to Irvine recapturing the momentum throughout the second half. Irvine scored 27 points off of Cal Poly turnovers, compared to eight points for the Mustangs off of eight Irvine turnovers.
Sophomore forward Alimamy Koroma led the Mustangs in scoring with 10 points and was the only Mustang in double figures, while Stevenson added nine points.
The Mustangs will look to earn their first conference victory in their next two-game series against Cal State Northridge inside Mott Athletics Center on Jan. 29 and 30.