Welcome to Fabulous Cal Poly Basketball: Mustangs Head to Las Vegas

Welcome to Fabulous Cal Poly Basketball: Mustangs Head to Las Vegas



SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly men's basketball program continues action in the 2011 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational on Tuesday, Nov. 22 when visiting UNLV (4-0) inside the Thomas and Mack Center at 7:30 p.m. The Mustangs (2-1) then transition to the 7,500-seat Orleans Arena to face Morgan State (0-3) on Friday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. A victory pits the Mustangs against either Tennessee State (1-3) or Mississippi Valley State (0-3) at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26; a loss sends the Mustangs to an 11:30 a.m. matchup against either program. 

LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL UPDATE: Cal Poly opened the 2011 Las Vegas Invitational by surging past USC inside the Galen Center on Nov. 19, 42-36. Cal Poly, which received a team-high 12 points from senior forward David Hanson, snapped a nine-game slide against Pac-12 Conference opponents by limiting USC to four points during the final 10 minutes. The 36 points scored by USC were the fewest by a Mustang opponent during Cal Poly's 18-year Division I tenure and the fewest by the Trojans since dropping a 40-35 overtime decision against UCLA in 1967. Additionally, the 42 points scored by Cal Poly versus USC were the fewest in a Mustang victory in the Division I era.

FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS THIS WEEK: Tom Barket returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail of all three of Cal Poly's Las Vegas Invitational games for GoPoly.com HERE and in San Luis Obispo County on ESPN 1280. GameTracker for Cal Poly's matchup at UNLV is available HERE. Live stats information for Cal Poly's games at the Orleans Arena will be made available later this week. 

DEFENSE REMAINS AT THE FOREFRONT: A year after finishing third among all Division I programs in opponent three-point percentage (28.7), sixth in opponent points per game (58.9) and 25th in opponent field goal percentage (40.0), Cal Poly enters Tuesday's showdown at UNLV having limited this year's opponents to a 28.1 percent mark from beyond the arc, 49.3 points per game and a 38.0 percent figure from the floor.

MILESTONE LOOMS: Cal Poly requires just one more victory this week to earn its 200th triumph at the Division I level. Cal Poly's first win as a Division I program was a 62-59 edging of Menlo College on Jan. 11, 1995. 

CAL POLY VERSUS UNLV: The Rebels captured the last matchup against Cal Poly, prevailing on Dec. 21, 1999, 104-92, to push their series advantage to 4-1. The two programs first met during the 1960-61 campaign when splitting a two-game series in Las Vegas.

CAL POLY VERSUS MORGAN STATE: Cal Poly has never previously faced either Morgan State or any program representing the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. 

CAL POLY VERSUS TENNESSEE STATE AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE: Cal Poly has never previously faced either Tennessee State or Mississippi Valley State. The Mustangs have only ever met two programs representing Tennessee State's Ohio Valley Conference (Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois) and one representing Mississippi Valley State's Southwestern Athletic Conference (Southern, twice).

TAYLOR RISES TO THE OCCASION: Having already notched new single-game scoring (16, Nov. 16) and rebounding (13, Nov. 12) highs, senior forward Will Taylor – who redshirted the 2010-11 season – leads Cal Poly with 11.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, in addition to shooting a Mustang-best 68.2 percent from the floor. Taylor, a starter in all three of Cal Poly's games as of Nov. 19, most recently grabbed seven boards to lift Cal Poly past USC, 42-36 (Nov. 19). 

FERMIN WORTH THE WAIT: Forced to sit out the 2009-10 season after transferring from Hagerstown College (Md.) and the 2010-11 season after suffering an ACL injury, senior guard Amaurys Fermin finally made his Cal Poly debut by leading the Mustangs in scoring during the first two games. Despite notching just a field goal during Cal Poly's 42-36 edging of USC (Nov. 19), Fermin – averaging a team-best 29.7 minutes per game – co-leads Cal Poly with 11.0 points per content.

HANSON BREAKS OUT: Held to just four total points during Cal Poly's initial two games, senior forward David Hanson notched a game-high 12 and a season-best eight rebounds in the program's 42-36 victory at USC (Nov. 19). 

ROYER RETURNS WITH HOT HAND: Cal Poly's leading three-point shooter from a season ago is back in prime position behind the arc. A season after shooting 45.5 from three-point range, junior guard Dylan Royer, in just 13.3 minutes per contest, leads the Mustangs with a 50.0 percent mark this year. Royer twice knocked down a pair of three-pointers to finish with a season-high six points versus San Jose State (Nov. 12) and Cal State Bakersfield (Nov. 16).

HANSON ON VERGE OF HISTORY: David Hanson requires just 104 points to become the third Mustang in as many seasons and the 17th player in program history to notch 1,000 career points.  Hanson, who finished eighth among Big West players last year with 455 total points and 15.2 per 30 games, is currently sixth among active conference players in career points. Guard Shawn Lewis completed his four-year Mustang career last year as the seventh-leading scorer in program history with 1,304 points while guard Lorenzo Keeler (2007-10) ended his tenure ranked No. 11 with 1,157 points. 

MUSTANGS RETURN TO THE SMALL SCREEN: A year after making a program-record five television appearances, the Mustangs are scheduled to appear on TV a further four times during the 2011-12 campaign. Below is a listing of Cal Poly's 2011-12 television schedule, including tentative dates.

Jan. 2 — UC Santa Barbara (KSBY-TV)|
Jan. 21 — Cal State Northridge (PRIME)
Feb. 18 – ESPNU BracketBuster (Pending)
Feb. 25 — at UC Santa Barbara (ESPNU)
March 3 — Pacific (KSBY-TV)
March 9 — Big West Tournament semifinal  (ESPNU, pending)
March 10 — Big West Tournament championship (ESPN2, pending)

MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2011-12: In what has become a hallmark of head coach Joe Callero's three-season tenure, Cal Poly will again face another testing schedule during the 2011-12 campaign. Continuing with the Nov. 22 clash at UNLV, Cal Poly will contest seven games this season against programs that qualified for either the 2011 NCAA Tournament or NIT.

WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE: Cal Poly's 14 home games this season are the most contests inside Mott Gym since the program hosted 16 opponents during the 1999-00 campaign. Under Joe Callero, Cal Poly has posted a 14-11 overall mark in Mott Gym, a 9-7 record against Big West Conference opposition and, this season alone, allowed just 56.0 points per game.

HAWAI'I SAYS ALOHA TO BIG WEST CONFERENCE: The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced the addition of Hawai'i as the conference's 10th member institution on Dec. 10, 2010. Previously a member of the Big West from 1984-96, Hawai'i will begin official conference competition during the 2012-13 campaign.

ETC.: Cal Poly improved to 9-9 in season-opening contests at the Division I level with a 79-52 victory against San Jose State (Nov. 12) … Cal Poly's 27-point margin of victory against San Jose State (Nov. 12) was the program's largest disparity under third-year head coach Joe Callero and largest since hammering North Florida on Nov. 21, 2008, 76-42 … Cal Poly's lone victory when trailing at halftime this season was a 42-36 triumph at USC on Nov 19 (the Mustangs trailed at the break, 20-13) … the Mustangs have compiled more assists than their opponents during all three games this season.