COMPLETE GAME PREVIEW (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Cal Poly men's basketball program seeks its first Big West Conference victory of the season when visiting UC Davis on Saturday, Jan. 19 inside The Pavilion. Tip time is 5 p.m. for Cal Poly (4-11, 0-2), which also seeks its first victory at UC Davis since the 2011-12 season. Alongside the aforementioned Aggies (4-12, 0-2), Cal State Fullerton (4-12, 0-2) and UC Riverside (6-12, 0-2), Cal Poly remains one of four Big West programs seeking its first conference victory. Winners of two of its last eight games, UC Davis hosts Big West co-leader UC Santa Barbara on Thursday before facing Cal Poly.
FOLLOW CAL POLY THIS WEEK: Chris Sylvester will have the play-by-play call of Saturday's matchup at UC Davis for ESPN 1280 in San Luis Obispo County and via GoPoly.com HERE … live stats and streaming video of the game will also be available via GoPoly.com HERE.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC DAVIS: The Mustangs look to snap a six-year slide at UC Davis as Cal Poly's last victory inside The Pavilion was a 67-65 decision on Jan. 28, 2012. Overall, UC Davis has won nine of the last 11 meetings – including a 92-84, triple-overtime contest in San Luis Obispo last February.
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 Saturday's matchup at UC Davis ranked fifth among Big West players with a team leading 17.0 points per game. Topped by career high 30-point efforts versus Menlo College (Nov. 7) and CSUN (Jan. 12), a 28-point showing against Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 8) and a 26-point performance at California (Dec. 15), Fields has scored 20-plus points six times this year and chalked up 11 double-digit scoring games. He also owns the top five scoring games by a Mustang this season. Third among Big West players at 34.6 minutes per game, Fields has played all 85 Big West minutes for Cal Poly thus far. The leading free throw shooter in Cal Poly program history at 87.8 (180-for-205) percent, Fields is averaging 13.1 career points per game and has scored in double figures 49 times in 77 (63.6 percent) Division I appearances. One of only 24 players in program history to score 1,000 career points, Fields currently ranks 23rd all-time with 1,007 points. Also one of the top distributors in Cal Poly history, Fields is third among Big West players at 4.7 assists per game and 10th in program history with 256 career assists.
AS THE CROWE LETS IT FLY: Now ranked fourth among NCAA Division I players with a 50.0 (35-for-70) percent three-point mark after knocking down 13 of his last 21 attempts, sophomore wing Mark Crowe has emerged as Cal Poly's second leading scorer at 10.9 points per game. Also second among Mustangs with 10 double-digit scoring games, Crowe scored a career best 22 points at Fresno State (Dec. 1) while notching 18 versus UTA (Dec. 21), 14 at CSU Bakersfield (Dec. 18) and 13 at Siena (Dec. 29). Crowe, who has knocked down multiple three-pointers in 10 of 15 games, also ranks fifth among Big West players with a 53.2 (58-for-109) percent field goal mark and 16th in scoring.
HOLLINGSWORTH ON THE BLOCK: The fourth leading shot blocker in program history with 102 career blocks, junior forward Hank Hollingsworth requires just 34 more to match the program record of 136 established by Varnie Dennis (2000-04). Also the second leading shooter in program history at 61.2 (96-for-157) percent, Hollingsworth chalked up his third career double-double with career highs for points (14) and rebounds (12) versus USC Upstate (Nov. 24). He also recorded 12 points at Siena (Dec. 29) and grabbed 10 boards against CSUN (Jan. 12). On the boards, Hollingsworth leads Cal Poly and ranks 11th among Big West players with 5.5 rebounds per game.
FRESHMEN IN THE FOLD: Two members of Cal Poly's six-player freshman class have enjoyed an immediate effect on the program's success thus far. Guard Junior Ballard has appeared in all 15 games and his five three-pointers at Fresno State marks the second highest total by a Mustang this season. Ballard notched a new career high for points (21) at CSU Bakersfield (Dec. 18) and rebounds (seven) versus UTA (Dec. 21). With three double-digit scoring games – including 11 points versus CSUN (Jan. 12) – Ballard is averaging 5.1 points per game. Having started Cal Poly's last nine games, forward Daxton Carr is averaging 4.1 points per night. Carr has twice scored a career high nine points and grabbed a collegiate best 10 rebounds at Fresno State (Dec. 1).
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 10.23 turnovers per 202 matchups (2,066 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 nine overtime periods in its last 20 games. Including overtime wins this season versus USC Upstate (Nov. 24) and Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 8), Cal Poly has won three of its last five overtime games.
LOOKING AHEAD (JAN. 21-27): Cal Poly returns home to Mott Athletics Center to host UC Riverside (Wednesday, Jan. 23) and Cal State Fullerton (Saturday, Jan. 26) in 7 p.m. matchups. Against UC Riverside – the second most frequent opponent in Cal Poly's history – the Mustangs play their 99th all-time game. Cal Poly has dropped just two home games to the Highlanders in the last nine meetings. Against the defending Big West Tournament champion Titans, Cal Poly looks to snap a three-year slide inside Mott Athletics Center.
ETC.: 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 … Cal Poly's Dec. 29 matchup at Siena marked the program's first game in New York state in 59 seasons and first game against a MAAC opponent since visiting Saint Peter's on Dec. 14, 1973 … Cal Poly improved to 40-1 against non-Division I programs with its 68-47 win versus Holy Names (Cal Poly transitioned to Division I prior to the 1994-95 season).