Cal Poly won an important Big West game against UC Riverside Thursday night, beating the Highlanders in overtime, 59-55 in Mott Gym.
The Mustangs struggled offensively, but pulled out a win in the late stages of a close game.
The Mustangs trailed 52-50 with 1:33 remaining and pulled even on its next possession with a lay-up by Chaz Thomas.
Cal Poly held the Highlanders empty on the next Riverside possession and had a chance to take the lead with less than a minute to go, but a missed shot under the basket by Titus Shelton and several failed tip-in opportunities kept the score at 52 apiece.
The ensuing scramble for the ball ended up out-of-bounds off a Riverside player, giving Cal Poly the ball with 36.5 seconds to go and 35 seconds on the shot clock.
After playing merry-go-around near half-court to run the shot clock down, Thomas took the ball with the clock counting down from 10. He drove right off a Stockalper screen and missed an off-balanced 8-footer ” overtime.
Cal Poly took a 56-54 lead into the final minute of overtime and held on for the win. Trae Clark hit a floater on the right side of the key while driving to the basket with 17.9 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Derek Stockalper led the Mustangs in scoring with 16 points and also had a game-high 14 rebounds. McGinn was the next best scorer for Cal Poly with 11 points while Gabe Stephenson was a big contributor on the glass with 10 rebounds.
For the Highlanders, Steve Williams shared game-high scoring honors with Stockalper at 16 points while Larry Cunningham chipped in 10. Klaus Schille was the Highlanders’ top rebounder with 11.
The win improves Cal Poly to 6-5 in the Big West and 8-16 overall. Riverside falls to a Big West worst 3-9 and 4-20 overall.
Cal Poly will host Cal State Fullerton at noon on Saturday in Mott Gym.