Joseph Pack/Mustang News

Sophomore wing David Nwaba scored 14 points in a 62-58 loss to UC Davis on Thursday.

Erik Chu

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Hot shooting by UC Davis in the second half was too much for the Cal Poly men’s basketball team as the Aggies won 62-58 in a highly contested Big West Conference game Thursday night in Mott Athletics Center.

Cal Poly fell to 8-12 for the season and 4-3 in the Big West play while UC Davis improved to 2-4 in conference.

In a fast-paced start to the game, the Mustangs jumped out to a narrow 10-8 lead thanks to sophomore wing David Nwaba’s hot shooting from the field.

Senior forward Chris Eversley also played well in the first half, chipping in eight points on 3 of 6 shooting as the Mustangs lead 28-21 at halftime.

Eversley scored 17 points for Cal Poly, and Nwaba added 14. Eversley surpassed the 1,000-point mark in career scoring with two minutes remaining in the first half as he hit a jumper to give Cal Poly a 28-19 lead.

“Give UC Davis credit,” Eversley said. “It’s the wild west out here and anybody can beat anybody anywhere. I’m confident that our team will bounce back from this.”

The second half turned out to be a back-and-forth battle as the Aggies crawled their way back. The Aggies made 14 of 22 shots from the field in the second half.

Guards Avery Johnson and Ryan Sypkens provided the spark for the Aggies, both hitting crucial 3-pointers to give the Aggies a two-point lead with 7:40 remaining in the game.

The remainder of the game would be a back-and-forth affair. A dunk by sophomore forward Joel Awich bridged the gap late in the game, but 3-pointers by Corey Hawkins and Spykens for the Aggies proved to be the difference. Those clutch shots gave the Aggies a 59-54 lead with 58 seconds to go.

A flurry of failed three-point shots by the Mustangs solidified the loss. UC Davis earned its first win at Cal Poly since 2009, and the Mustangs have now lost back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2011.

Joel Awich, who scored eight points, said he is confident he can repeat his performance headed into Saturday’s game against UC Irvine.

“When opportunities come up, I will step up and help this team,” Awich said.

Head coach Joe Callero also remained positive despite the loss.

“UC Davis did a great job of breaking our press,” Callero said. “We look forward to finishing the season strong.”

Cal Poly converted more field goals than UC Davis, but the difference lay in 3-point percentage. The Mustangs hit on just three of 10 3-pointers while UC Davis hit 10 of 22 from downtown.

With the loss, Cal Poly slipped into fourth place in the Big West. UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and Long Beach State are ahead of the Mustangs.

Cal Poly hosts UC Irvine on Saturday at 8 p.m. in a game to be televised by ESPNU.

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