FULLERTON – Senior guard Victor Joseph (above) scored a team leading 16 points and junior guard Donovan Fields finished with 15 Thursday evening, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program – after cutting an 18-point second-half deficit versus Cal State Fullerton to two points – dropped a 75-59 decision inside Titan Gym.
Junior forward Aleks Abrams produced a career high 10 points while grabbing six rebounds for Cal Poly (8-16, 3-7), which needed just five minutes to transform a 47-29 deficit into a 51-49 disadvantage with 12-and-a-half minutes to play. The Mustangs, however, were held without a field goal for the next four minutes and Cal State Fullerton never led by less than nine points during the final eight minutes.
Cal Poly's leading rebounder, Josh Martin, added a team high eight Thursday while the Mustangs – the Big West Conference's leading free throw shooting squad – finished 83.3 (10-for-12) percent from the line.
Cal Poly closes its two-game road trip with an 8 p.m. matchup at Long Beach State on Saturday, Feb. 10. Action will be televised live on Fox Sports West.
After trailing 7-0 to begin Thursday's matchup, Cal Poly sank seven of its ensuing eight attempts from the floor to take a 14-13 lead with 11-and-a-half minutes remaining in the opening half.
The Mustangs, however, were held without a field goal for the next nine minutes and a 19-3 run from Cal State Fullerton handed the Titans a 32-17 advantage three minutes before the break.
Junior forward Josh Martin snapped the drought with a three-pointer (Cal Poly's first of the evening), but the Mustangs ultimately trailed 37-22 at the break.
Cal State Fullerton stretched its lead to as much as 18 points early in the second half before a 14-2 Cal Poly run – backboned by nine Joseph points – trimmed the gap to 49-43 with 14 minutes to play.
A dunk from sophomore forward Hank Hollingsworth eventually shaved Cal State Fullerton's lead to 51-49. The Titans, however, kept Cal Poly to the four-minute field goal drought as the hosts pushed their advantage to 60-49 with eight minutes to play.