Tyler McGinn scored eight of Cal Poly’s first 10 points and stayed hot throughout the game on the way to a career-high night with 28 points and a 73-54 victory over Cal State Northridge.
“It was amazing,” McGinn said. “I don’t really know how to put it. It was just one of those nights. I got started early and kept it throughout the game.”
McGinn easily surpassed his previous career-high of 18 points and gave a significant contribution on the boards with seven rebounds. His 28 points came on 10-for-16 shooting, including six-for-11 from three-point range.
Cal Poly’s Derek Stockalper recorded his second straight double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Chaz Thomas led the Mustangs with eight assists.
Cal Poly opened the game on a 10-2 run, finding numerous open looks against an ineffective one-three-one, half-court trap by the Matadors.
Cal Poly spread the court with Thomas on the far side and Dawin Whiten opposite him while Gabe Stephenson and Titus Shelton worked the middle of the court. McGinn and Stockalper often worked the wings, giving the Mustangs a two-one-two base to counter the Matadors.
Cal Poly coach Kevin Bromley said the team worked on beating the Matadors’ one-three-one in practice on Monday and several other occasions leading up to the game, but the athleticism of the Matadors still caused problems.
“We were prepared for it, we knew it was coming, but we still turned the ball over 20 times,” Bromley said.
The Matadors switched to man-to-man defense on several occasions, but only for short spurts. Northridge did force 20 Cal Poly turnovers, but surrendered many open shots for the Mustangs. Cal Poly shot 11-for-25 as a team from three-point distance.
Cal Poly switched back and forth between a two-three zone defense and man-to-man. Both were effective against the Matadors who shot a paltry 37.7 percent from the floor.
For the second consecutive game, the Mustangs shut down one of the top scorers in the conference. On Thursday, the Mustangs had their way with University of the Pacific’s Christian Maraker and on Saturday it was Northridge’s Mike Efevberha’s turn.
Efevberha, the Big West’s leading scorer, shot five-for-16 from the field for 14 points and played just 18 minutes due to foul trouble. He also is among the Big West leaders in free-throw percentage, but couldn’t find his way to the charity stripe during Saturday’s game.
“Our game plan was to make him work for his shots,” McGinn said. “We knew he shoots a lot, but we wanted him to take a lot of shots to get his points.”
After dropping another Big West heartbreaker to Pacific on Thursday, the win was a promising sign to Bromley.
“What I’m most proud about is that they battled against Pacific and they were able to bounce back like they did (against Northridge),” Bromley said. “I feel like a proud father. They showed character.”