Ryan Chartrand

Hot outside shooting can’t get men’s basketball team back in win column

Cal Poly’s best 3-point shooting performance in about two months wasn’t enough to keep the Mustangs from falling into seventh place in the Big West Conference on Saturday night.

The Mustangs, who hit 39.3 percent of their shots from deep, lost 73-69 at UC Irvine’s Bren Events Center to drop their fifth game in six tries.

Senior guard Dawin Whiten led Cal Poly (6-10, 1-3 Big West Conference) with 22 points by connecting on 8 of his 12 shots from the floor, including 5 of 7 from long range.

Whiten pulled the Mustangs within 72-69 with 2.3 seconds remaining on a tip-in, but Anteaters sophomore guard Michael Hunter sank a free throw after an ensuing foul to put the contest out of reach.

Patrick Sanders gave UC Irvine (7-9, 2-1 BWC) a 72-67 advantage on a jumper with 12.2 seconds to play. The Anteaters senior forward scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half.

Cal Poly, which shot 46 percent from the floor overall, also pulled within a 3-pointer at 64-61 with 2:23 left, but could get no closer in the closing minutes.

Junior guard Brett Lauer paced UC Irvine with a career-high 20 points, and senior center Darren Fells chipped in his second straight double-double, with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Chad DeCasas contributed 10 points in the win.

For the Mustangs, who trailed 13-2 less than five minutes into the opening half, junior guard Chaz Thomas compiled 11 points and five assists.

They mounted a 21-8 run capped by a dunk by junior forward Coby Leavitt over the next eight minutes, though, on the way to a 29-29 deadlock at intermission.

The win kept the Anteaters unblemished at home for the season, at 6-0.

In other conference action Saturday night, first-place Cal State Northridge (12-3, 4-0 BWC) defended its home court by downing Pacific (11-5, 2-1 BWC) 78-61.

Cal Poly will host the conference’s team with the most overall wins, UC Santa Barbara (13-4, 2-2 BWC), at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Women’s tennis team opens season in dominant fashion

In their opening dual matches of the spring season, the Mustangs beat Santa Clara and then UC Santa Cruz 7-0 apiece Sunday afternoon at home.

Sophomores Brittany Blalock and Steffi Wong, who make up the No. 22 doubles team in the nation in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, topped the Broncos’ Stephanie Galainena and Ashley Pane 8-3.

Also victorious in doubles competition were Shannon Brady and Amy Markhoff, who edged Lindsay McBride and Carmen Pham 8-5.

Maria Malec and Diana Filip also won 8-5 against Meghan Madden and Myra Davoudi.

Blalock was most dominant against Santa Clara’s singles competition, sweeping Galainena 6-2, 6-3.

Against the Banana Slugs, Whitney Peterson and Melissa Bradford recorded the most expedient win, 8-1 over Chayla Furlong and Taylor Mannix.

Markhoff and Brady defeated Megan Sweeney and Jessica Ruth 8-4.

Cal Poly, ranked 63rd of 320 Division I teams in the latest ITA poll, travels to Pepperdine for a 1 p.m. start Sunday.

The Mustangs’ next home matches are March 1 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. against UC Riverside and San Jose State.

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