COMPLETE UPDATED GAME PREVIW (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO – Exactly one year to the date of the program's first meeting versus UTA, the Cal Poly men's basketball team hosts the Mavericks to close its 2018 home schedule inside Mott Athletics Center on Friday, Dec. 21. Tip time is 7 p.m. for Cal Poly (3-7), which looks to remain undefeated at home this season and snap a two-game slide following Tuesday's 74-61 loss at CSU Bakersfield. A combined 1-5 all-time against Sun Belt programs, Cal Poly seeks its first victory against a team from that conference since opening the 1997-98 season with a victory versus Arkansas State. UTA (3-7), which defeated Cal Poly in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 21, 2017, has dropped seven successive games. The Mavericks most recently fell at No. 4 Gonzaga on Tuesday, 89-55.
FOLLOW CAL POLY THIS WEEK: Chris Sylvester will have the play-by-play call of Friday's matchup versus UTA for ESPN 1280 in San Luis Obispo County and via GoPoly.com HERE … live stats and streaming video of the matchup will also be available via GoPoly.com HERE.
CAL POLY VERSUS UTA: The Mavericks won the only previous meeting between the two sides on Dec. 21, 2017 (77-56).
FIELDS REMAINS CAL POLY'S CATALYST: One of Cal Poly's top two scorers during each of his three seasons as a Mustang, senior guard Donovan Fields enters Friday's matchup versus UTA ranked sixth among Big West players with a team leading 16.0 points per game. Topped by a career high 30-point effort versus Menlo College (Nov. 7), a 28-point showing against Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 8) and a 26-point performance at California (Dec. 15), Fields has scored 20-plus points five times this year and chalked up six double-digit scoring games. He also owns four of Cal Poly's top five scoring games this season. The leading free throw shooter in Cal Poly program history at 88.1 (170-for-193) percent, Fields is averaging 12.7 career points per game and has scored in double figures 44 times in 72 (61.1 percent) Division I appearances. He requires just 88 more points to become the 24th player in program history to reach 1,000. Also one of the top distributors in Cal Poly history, Fields is fourth among Big West players at 4.1 assists per game and 10th in program history with 226 career assists.
AS THE CROWE LETS IT FLY: Cal Poly's leader with seven double-digit scoring games after finishing with a career high 22 points at Fresno State (Dec. 1), 14 at CSU Bakersfield (Dec. 18) and 11 at California (Dec. 15), sophomore wing Mark Crowe now ranks 43rd among NCAA Division I players with a 44.9 (22-for-49) percent three-point mark. Crowe, who has knocked down multiple three-pointers in seven of 10 games, also ranks seventh among Big West players with a 50.6 (40-for-79) percent field goal mark and 15th with 11.1 points per game.
HOLLINGSWORTH ON THE BLOCK: The fourth leading shot blocker in program history with 94 career blocks, junior forward Hank Hollingsworth requires just 42 more to match the program record of 136 established by Varnie Dennis (2000-04). Also the second leading shooter in program history at 61.1 (80-for-131) percent, Hollingsworth chalked up his third career double-double with career highs for points (14) and rebounds (12) versus USC Upstate (Nov. 24). On the boards, Hollingsworth leads Cal Poly and ranks 11th among Big West players with 5.5 rebounds per game.
FRESHMEN IN THE FOLD: Three members of Cal Poly's six-player freshman class have enjoyed an immediate effect on the program's success thus far. Having started Cal Poly's last four games, forward Daxton Carr is averaging 5.8 points per night. Carr has twice scored a career high nine points and grabbed a collegiate best 10 rebounds at Fresno State (Dec. 1). Guard Junior Ballard has appeared in all 10 games and his five three-pointers at Fresno State marks the highest total by a Mustang this season. He also notched new career highs for points (21) and rebounds (six) at CSU Bakersfield (Dec. 18). Forward Tuukka Jaakkola leads Cal Poly with 73.7 (14-for-19) field goal mark – a figure fueled by a career high 13-point performance at Portland (Nov. 23).
CAL POLY'S QUALITY CONTROL: No Division I program has committed fewer turnovers per game since the beginning of the 2012-13 season than Cal Poly, which has averaged just 10.17 turnovers per 197 matchups (2,003 turnovers total). Cal Poly has led the Big West in fewest turnovers per game in five of the last six years.
INTO THE NIGHT: Dating to last season, Cal Poly has played seven overtime periods in its last 16 games. Including overtime wins this season versus USC Upstate (Nov. 24) and Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 8), Cal Poly has won its last three overtime games.
HOME IS WHERE THE (NON-CONFERENCE) WINS ARE: Under 10th-year head coach Joe Callero, Cal Poly is 27-9 inside Mott Athletics Center in non-conference home games. The Mustangs have won 10 of their last 12 home matchups versus non-Big West opposition.
LOOKING AHEAD (DEC. 24-30): Cal Poly's penultimate pre-Big West Conference matchup and final game of the calendar year comes at first-time opponent Siena on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. PT. Making their return to the Empire State for the first time since topping Buffalo twice (Dec. 14-15, 1959) and falling at Adelphi (Dec. 16, 1959), Cal Poly has played a game in the Eastern Time Zone in each of the last two seasons after dropping matchups at Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 12, 2017) and Princeton (Dec. 31, 2016).
ETC.: Cal Poly improved to 39-1 against non-Division I programs with its 82-75, season-opening win versus Menlo College (Cal Poly transitioned to Division I prior to the 1994-95 season) … the 13,995-fan attendance figure for Cal Poly's Nov. 11 game at Arizona marked the largest crowd for a Mustangs game since 17,995 fans packed the Scottrade Center in St. Louis for the program's 2014 NCAA Tournament second round matchup versus Wichita State (March 21, 2014) … Cal Poly's scheduled Nov. 16 game at Sacramento State was postponed due to continued poor air quality related to the Camp Fire (a makeup date has not yet been announced) … Cal Poly's Nov. 19 matchup at Washington State marked the program's first and only meeting against the Cougars since Feb. 10, 1976 and leaves Oregon (one all-time meeting) as the least frequent Pac-12 Conference opponent in Mustang history … Cal Poly's six-game road trip from Nov. 11-Dec. 1 marked the fourth time in five years the Mustangs embarked on a road trip of six games or lengthier … tenth-year head coach Joe Callero moved into sole possession of third place on the Cal Poly career victories chart with his 122nd win as Mustang head coach during the program's Nov. 24 triumph versus USC Upstate. Having surpassed Steve Beason (1986-95) for third place in program history, Callero ranks 18th in career victories in Big West Conference history … Cal Poly's 80-78 home win versus Bethune-Cookman marked the program's first victory versus a MEAC program.