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Second-Half Rally Falls Short as Cal Poly Drops Opener at Stanford

Second-Half Rally Falls Short as Cal Poly Drops Opener at Stanford

STANFORD – Junior guard Donovan Fields (above) scored a team high 21 points during Friday's 2017-18 season opener at Stanford, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program – after trailing by as much as 21 in the second half and trimming the deficit to as little as nine – ultimately dropped a 78-62 decision inside Maples Pavilion.

Senior guard Victor Joseph added 17 points for Cal Poly (0-1), which trailed Stanford (1-0) 51-30 with 16 minutes remaining before the Mustangs – aided by nine straight Fields points – produced a 15-3 run to shorten their gap to single digits. That was as close as the Mustangs would reach, however, despite Cal Poly forcing Stanford into 16 turnovers.

In just the eighth all-time matchup between Cal Poly and Stanford and the first meeting between the two programs in four seasons, sophomore forward Hank Hollingsworth blocked a game high three shots and senior forward Luke Meikle added nine points.

Cal Poly closes its season-opening road trip with a 1 p.m. matchup at California on Sunday, Nov. 12. The game will be televised nationally on Pac-12 Networks.

During Friday's game, a Joseph three-pointer allowed Cal Poly to match Stanford at 5-5 three minutes into action, but the Cardinal responded by reeling off a 9-0 run.

Junior guard Marcellus Garrick stemmed Stanford's run with a three-pointer, but the Cardinal received three-pointers themselves from guards Robert Cartwright and Isaac White to produce the first of two 11-point leads at 21-10 halfway through the opening period.

Cal Poly, which forced Stanford into six turnovers inside the opening 12 minutes, closed the gap to 26-20 six minutes prior to halftime after junior forward Josh Martin hit a three-pointer and Fields rolled home a layup. Stanford, however, finished the half with a 12-4 run and a Cartwright three-pointer with a second remaining gave the Cardinal a 38-24 lead heading into the locker room.

Stanford's Reid Travis kept up the Cardinals's pace to begin the second half as the forward notched his side's opening six points. Cartwright then added a layup as Stanford stretched its lead to 46-27 with 17 minutes remaining.

Trailing 51-30 a minute later, however, Cal Poly ripped off its 15-3 run to close the gap to 54-45 with 12-and-a-half minutes remaining. The Cardinal, however, chalked up the next two baskets and Cal Poly was never closer than 11 points the remainder of the evening.