POSTGAME REACTION: JOE CALLERO
STOCKTON, Calif. – Senior guard Drake U'u (right) matched a career high with 13 points, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program – bidding to post the best start to a Big West Conference season in program history – instead trailed wire-to-wire at Pacific on Saturday evening and dropped a 77-55 decision inside the Spanos Center.
Junior forward Chris Eversley and freshman guard Reese Morgan each posted nine points for Cal Poly (7-8, 3-2), which allowed Pacific to shoot 63.6 (28-for-44) percent from the floor – the third-highest total allowed in 109 games under fourth-year head coach Joe Callero. Pacific's 62.5 (10-for-16) percent three-point mark was also the highest figure by a Mustang opponent during the 2012-13 season.
With the loss, Cal Poly slid into a three-team knot for fourth place in the Big West standings alongside UC Irvine (9-9, 3-2) and Hawai'i (9-7, 3-2). The Mustangs return to action when visiting Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. The matchup will be televised live on Fox PRIME TICKET. The Gauchos (6-10, 2-3) upended UC Davis on Saturday, 66-59.
Pacific (9-7, 3-1), which scored on its first five possessions Saturday, opened up a 12-2 lead after just three minutes. The Mustangs managed to limit Pacific to a single Sama Taku three-pointer during the next three-and-a-half minutes and close their deficit to 15-10, but the pause was brief. The Tigers, 11-for-14 from the floor to open Saturday's contest, responded with a 13-3 run to lead 28-13 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
Cal Poly, held to a 42.3 (11-for-26) percent field goal mark during the first half, closed to within single digits of the Pacific lead just once down the stretch after senior guard Chris O'Brien's three-pointer with 90 seconds left trimmed the Tiger advantage to 34-27. Tiger senior forward Travis Fulton, however, knocked down a three-pointer of his own 27 seconds later to reaffirm Pacific's double-digit lead at the half.
Resuming the second half as they opened the first, the Tigers posted a 7-2 run out of the locker room and, in hitting five of their first seven attempts from the floor, pushed the lead to 46-32 with 15 minutes to play. Compounding matters for the Mustangs, Pacific then buried its next four shot attempts to further the lead to 56-37 at the 11-and-a-half minute mark
The Mustangs twice shaved the Tiger advantage down to 13 points, but Pacific answered with a three-pointer on each occasion to keep the game out of reach. Cal Poly sunk just six field goals during the second half, five of which were three-pointers.
With Pacific transitioning to the West Coast Conference following the 2012-13 season, Saturday's contest between the Mustangs and Tigers marked the last game inside the Spanos Center between the two sides as conference opponents.