Brennan Angel

The Cal Poly men’s basketball team has won eight of its last 10 games and has a winning overall record 24 games into the season for the first time since the 2001-02 campaign.

But that doesn’t mean the Mustangs have nothing to improve on. Head coach Kevin Bromley said Monday he is “not happy at all” with how his team is defending.

“My biggest concern is we have to defend,” Bromley said. “Our offense is terrific right now. I know we can do both. It’s going to take both to win.”

Cal Poly (14-10, 5-5 Big West Conference) is not looking past its game at last-place UC Riverside (6-20, 1-10) at 7 tonight, but hopes to win both games this week. The Mustangs visit second-place Cal State Fullerton (18-7, 8-4) at 6 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be regionally televised on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket.

Bromley has said that possibly the most important statistic to him is field-goal percentage defense.

When asked Monday what area of the defense he most hopes to shore up, Bromley said: “It’s not one thing. I wish it was one thing. It’s multiple breakdowns from everybody at different times in the game. It’s two possessions we get beat on dribble penetration. Then we helped out too much and we were out-positioned on a rebound, then it’s not fighting through a screen very well.”

One thing Cal Poly has locked and loaded is an offense that has been explosive as of late.

Consider these numbers:

  • The Mustangs have scored more than 85 points in four of their last five games.
  • Dawin Whiten tied a school record with eight 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 31 points in an 89-80 win over UC Irvine on Feb. 10.
  • Derek Stockalper set a school record with nine 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 37 points in a 92-87 ESPNU Bracket Buster win over Portland State last Saturday. Also in that game, Titus Shelton went off for a career-high 20 points.
  • On the season, four of Cal Poly’s five starters are shooting greater than .330 from 3-point range, including Stockalper (.500), Tyler McGinn (.417), Whiten (.381) and Trae Clark (.337).
  • All five starters average at least 8.5 points a game, but none more than 14.4 (Stockalper).

    “We’ve kind of been tweaking with the offense the whole time,” Bromley said. “We’ve got the right guys taking shots and with tremendous confidence.”

    With all the weapons, teams have had a hard time keying on one player or another.

    “It’s nice to have because you never know what teams defensively or schematically are going to do against you,” Bromley said. “We’ve just got to keep it going.”

    Cal Poly last played UC Riverside at home Dec. 30, winning 67-64. The Mustangs kept the Highlanders in the game, however, by shooting only 5 for 11 from the free-throw line and committing 18 turnovers.

    “We killed them by three here,” Bromley joked. “They’ve got a little bit of everything. They’ve got good guards. We’ve got to defend and rebound.”

    Bromley said tonight’s game is particularly important because it could give more meaning to Saturday.

    “It’ll be a heck of a lot more exciting (Saturday) if we win on Thursday, because then we put ourselves in a position to finish as high as second in the conference,” he said.

  • Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *