Mustangs Fire Past Mississippi Valley State in Las Vegas Invitational Final
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS AND INTERVIEWS OF CAL POLY'S SATURDAY VICTORY VERSUS MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE
HIGH FIVE W/ COACH CALLERO - PART I (JAMAL JOHNSON)
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Junior guard Dylan Royer sank five three-pointers to finish with a career-high 18 points as the Cal Poly men's basketball program completed play at the 2011 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational by draining a season-high 14 threes en route to a 72-55 victory against Mississippi Valley State on Saturday afternoon inside the Orleans Arena.
Senior forward David Hanson and junior guard Drake U'u each sank three three-pointers and finished with 13 points for Cal Poly (4-2), which erased an early deficit by sinking its first four threes of the afternoon. The Mustangs, who also shot a season-best 56.0 percent from three-point range, outrebounded the Delta Devils (1-5), 34-19.
With Saturday's victory and Friday's 62-61 triumph against Morgan State, Cal Poly captured the Las Vegas Invitational championship for its four-team portion of the bracket. Overall, the Mustangs finished Las Vegas Invitational action with a 3-1 mark after defeating USC, 42-36 (Nov. 19), before dropping a 75-52 decision at UNLV (Nov. 22).
Senior guard Amaurys Fermin, who distributed eight assists and scored 12 points in Saturday's victory, was named to the Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament team.
U'u opened Saturday's matchup by nailing successive three-pointers, but was matched from beyond the arc by Delta Devils senior center Paul Crosby and, coupled by successive turnaround jumpers from senior forward Amos Studivant, Mississippi Valley State grabbed a 12-6 lead after just five minutes.
Through successive three-pointers from Royer (above), Cal Poly quickly closed the gap and, in holding Mississippi Valley State scoreless for more than 10 minutes, grabbed a 22-12 lead five minutes before the break. Mississippi Valley State, which missed eight-straight shots from the floor during the scoring drought, eventually broke the streak with a three-pointer from senior guard Kevin Burwell, but the Mustangs still carried a 32-26 lead into halftime.
Spurred by two jumpers from Crosby, the Delta Devils opened the second half with 7-0 run, but it was Cal Poly's stout shooting from beyond the arc that carried the Mustangs through. Trailing 35-34 with 17 minutes to play, the Mustangs received threes from Fermin, Hanson and Royer to spark a 15-0 run. Sophomore guard Jamal Johnson added another three-pointer moments later to cement a double-digit lead that Cal Poly held the rest of the way.
Sophomore forward Chris Eversley finished with a game-high seven rebounds for Cal Poly, which returns to the central coast to host Sacramento State on Wednesday, Nov. 30 and Saint Mary's on Saturday, Dec. 3. Both matchups tip at 7 p.m.