Credit: Diego Rivera | Mustang News

Cal Poly Men’s Basketball fought but could not complete their comeback as they fell 70-61 to the San Diego Toreros on Wednesday, Dec 16. inside Mott Athletics Center. 

The Mustangs (2-3) came in looking to build on the momentum from a big come from behind win three nights prior, but could not secure the victory as San Diego (1-2) picked up their first win of the year. Although Cal Poly erased a 14 point deficit by the early second half, the Toreros closed out the game for a victory.

Senior point guard Keith Smith was a catalyst for the Mustangs all night with 12 points and three assists, leading the team in both of those categories. However, a strong performance from San Diego’s Joey Calcaterra helped propel the Toreros to victory, posting game highs with 18 points and four assists.

The game opened with two quick dunks by San Diego resulting in a Mustang timeout within the first minute of the game. Cal Poly needed a spark and found it with a slam dunk by graduate forward Hank Hollingsworth, who posted season highs with points (10) and rebounds (7). Less than a minute later freshman guard Kobe Sanders added an impressive three-pointer with a hand in his face to tie the game at 7-7. This was the beginning of a back-and-forth period of nearly ten minutes with no clock stoppages, or Mustang substitutions. 

A layup by sophomore forward Alimamy Koroma brought the game within one point with Cal Poly trailing 22-21. However, this was the beginning of 13-0 run for San Diego, during which Cal Poly went scoreless for six minutes. A three from Smith with 3:22 left in the first half put the Mustangs back on the board, and by the end of the half the San Diego lead was at 13 points.

The major difference of the half was shooting as Cal Poly only converted 35.5% of their field goals, whereas San Diego shot 53.1% from the field.

The script was flipped coming out in the second half, as the Mustangs were the team with two baskets within the first minute, both by Hollingsworth. This was the start of a 19-4 run by Cal Poly which would be enough to give them the lead. During the run Koroma contributed three consecutive baskets including a jump shot that tied the game, as well as an assist on the next layup which gave the team the lead.

However, this was the final lead the Mustangs would hold for the remainder of the game, as San Diego immediately countered with a 11-1 run. The game stayed competitive as Cal Poly kept the score within seven points until the final seconds of the game, but San Diego closed it out for a 70-61 victory.

The Mustangs shot all 11 of their free throws on the game in the second half and shot just 45% from the line, including only 4 of 9 when there was less than 4:30 left in regulation. 

San Diego was the better shooting team on the night at 48.3% from the field, compared to 41.7% for Cal Poly. The Toreros had a large advantage in points in the paint and fastbreak points, leading in both of those categories at margins of 48-28 and 17-6 respectively.

The Mustangs will travel south for their next game against Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Dec. 19.

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