December 18, 2010

California Fends Off Late Cal Poly Rally

BERKELEY, Calif. – Senior guard Shawn Lewis led all players with 16 points and junior forward Will Donahue grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, but the Cal Poly men's basketball team, after drawing level versus California with three-and-a-half minutes remaining on Saturday afternoon, yielded 12 of the final 14 points and fell at Haas Pavilion, 51-41.

Donahue added eight points for Cal Poly (3-7), which utilized a 7-0 run to deadlock the scoreline at 39-39. The Mustangs, looking to secure their first victory against a  Pac-10 Conference opponent in seven years, held California (6-4) to a 38.6 percent mark from the floor. The Golden Bears, however, received a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double from senior center Mark Sanders-Frison and a further 10 points from junior guard Jorge Gutierrez to claim their first victory against Cal Poly since Dec. 29, 1996.

Saturday's matchup featured four lead changes during the initial seven minutes, but California – held to a 26.3 percent first-half mark from the floor by the Mustangs – limited Cal Poly to a single field goal during an 11-minute span. California, in turn, finished the final 13 minutes of the opening half with a 15-7 run to take a 19-12 advantage into intermission.

The Mustangs broke from the second-half gate by scoring six of the initial eight points to close their deficit to 21-18 with 17 minutes, 30 seconds remaining. Thanks in part to a pair of field goals by freshman guard Gary Franklin, California quickly fortified its lead at 29-21, but Cal Poly responded with a 5-0 spurt to close its gap to five points with 10 minutes to play.

Twice more Cal Poly closed its deficit to three points before a three-pointer from junior forward David Hanson and consecutive layups from sophomore guard Chris O'Brien capped a 7-0 Mustang run that squared the scoreline.

Lewis added a game-high three assists for Cal Poly, which caps a season-long five-game, 29-day road trip at Pepperdine on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Tip-off time from Firestone Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7 p.m.