COMPLETE GAME PREVIEW (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Cal Poly men's basketball program plays four of its next five games away from Mott Athletics Center, beginning with a Thursday, Feb. 14 matchup at Hawai'i. Tip time from the Stan Sheriff Center on O'ahu is 9 p.m. PT (7 p.m. HT) for Cal Poly (5-17, 1-8), which remained in ninth place in the Big West Conference standings after playing its program record fifth overtime game of the season during a 76-68 home loss to Long Beach State (Feb. 9). The Mustangs, however, trail eighth-place UC Riverside (8-17, 2-7) by just a game in the Big West standings with the top eight programs qualifying for the March 14-16 Big West Tournament in Anaheim. Winners of three of its last five games and 11-4 inside the Stan Sheriff Center this season, Hawai'i (14-9, 5-4) sits fourth in the Big West standings and just one game out of second place.
FOLLOW CAL POLY THIS WEEK: Chris Sylvester will have the play-by-play call of Thursday's matchup at Hawai'i 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 HAWAI'I: Cal Poly seeks its first victory inside the Stan Sheriff Center since a 61-57 overtime decision on Jan. 7, 2015. The Warriors won last year's game in Hawaii, 57-45 (Jan. 10, 2018). A 78-64 home win last season snapped a six-game overall slide versus the Warriors for Cal Poly, which trails in the all-time series (8-7).
STAN SHERIFF REVISITED: With the Mustang men's basketball program making its ninth all-time visit to Hawai'i, Cal Poly shares an historic link with the Stan Sheriff Center's namesake. An All-America selection in football at Cal Poly, Sheriff (1950-54) was a charter member of the Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Fame. An NFL standout with the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns, Sheriff was the head coach at Northern Iowa for 23 years before becoming Hawai'i's Director of Athletics in 1983.
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 Thursday's game at Hawai'i ranked sixth among Big West players with a team leading 16.0 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 seven times this year and chalked up a team leading 16 double-digit scoring games. He also owns the top six scoring games by a Mustang this season. The leading free throw shooter in Cal Poly program history at 87.4 (188-for-215) percent, Fields is averaging 13.1 career points per game and has scored in double figures 54 times in 84 (64.3 percent) Division I appearances. One of only 24 players in program history to score 1,000 career points, Fields currently ranks 18th all-time with 1,103 points. Also one of the top ball-handlers in Cal Poly history, Fields is fourth among Big West players at 4.3 assists per game and ninth in program history with 280 career assists. Regarding steals, Fields ranks fourth in the Big West at 1.5 per game and is one of only eight players in program history to record at least 100 during a career (currently 103).
AS THE CROWE LETS IT FLY: Now ranked 16th among NCAA Division I players with a 45.1 (46-for-102) percent three-point mark, sophomore wing Mark Crowe has emerged as Cal Poly's second leading scorer at 10.1 points per game. Also second among Mustangs with 13 double-digit scoring games, Crowe scored a career best 22 points at Fresno State (Dec. 1) while notching 18 versus UTA (Dec. 21) and 16 at UC Davis (Jan. 19). Crowe, who has knocked down multiple three-pointers in 14 of 22 games, also ranks ninth among Big West players with a 47.0 (79-for-168) percent field goal mark.
HOLLINGSWORTH ON THE BLOCK: The fourth leading shot blocker in program history with 107 career blocks, junior forward Hank Hollingsworth requires just 30 more to overtake the program record of 136 established by Varnie Dennis (2000-04). This season, he ranks third among Big West players at 1.2 blocks per game. Also the second leading shooter in program history at 59.7 (108-for-181) 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 13th among Big West players with 5.1 rebounds per game.
GARRICK SETS THE SCORING TONE: A 15-point effort versus Long Beach State (Feb. 9) was senior guard Marcellus Garrick's 11th double-digit scoring game of the year while his 6-for-7 three-point performance at UC Riverside (Jan. 31) marked the finest showing beyond the arc by a Mustang this season. Both efforts have Garrick ranked third in Cal Poly's lineup at 9.8 points per game. A starter in 18 of 22 games, Garrick has sunk multiple three-pointers in a game 13 times.
JOB WELL DONE: Having recorded just 42 points during his first 15 games as a Mustang, junior guard Job Alexander – in his last five outings – has averaged 11.2 points per game and produced all four of his double-digit scoring efforts. Alexander, who scored a career high 15 points at UC Riverside (Jan. 31), has knocked down 25 of his last 44 field goal attempts and is shooting 48.1 percent this season.
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 10.21 turnovers per 209 matchups (2,134 turnovers total). Cal Poly has led the Big West in fewest turnovers per game in five of the last six years and ranks third this season at just 12.3 per night.
INTO THE NIGHT: Through 22 games, Cal Poly has already played a program record five overtime games this season and posted a 2-3 mark. Dating to last year, Cal Poly has played 10 overtime periods in its last 26 games.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Mustangs play three of their ensuing four games away from home, beginning with a Thursday, Feb. 21 matchup at Big West leader UC Irvine – a matchup that serves as Cal Poly's season series opener versus the Anteaters. The Mustangs then host Hawai'i on Saturday, Feb. 23, closing the season series versus the Warriors in a nine-day interval.
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) … Cal Poly's Jan. 31 game at UC Riverside marked head coach Joe Callero's 300th game with the Mustangs. He's just the third person in Cal Poly program history to coach 300-plus games.