POSTGAME REACTION: JOE CALLERO
STOCKTON, Calif. – Senior forward David Hanson (above) scored a season-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to register his fourth double-double of the year, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program, despite closing a double-digit Pacific lead to one point during the second half, ultimately fell against the Tigers inside the Spanos Center on Thursday evening, 61-51.
Senior point guard Amaurys Fermin added 13 points for the Mustangs (12-9, 3-5), who cut a 10-point Pacific halftime lead to one with 13 minutes to play. The Mustangs, however, were held to a 29.7 (19-for-64) percent field goal mark and a 10.3 (3-for-29) percent figure from three-point range while Pacific (7-12, 3-4) knocked down 17 free throw during the second half to preserve victory.
Sophomore forward Chris Eversley matched a career high with nine rebounds for Cal Poly, which continues its four-game road trip on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. versus UC Davis. The Aggies (1-18, 0-7) dropped an 86-59 decision against UC Santa Barbara earlier on Thursday.
After matching a 25-year-old NCAA record by hitting their first 11 three-point attempts against Cal State Northridge (Jan. 21), the Mustangs fired out 1-for-11 on Thursday. Pacific, which held the Mustangs scoreless during an early five-and-a-half minute stretch, compiled a 9-0 run to lead 13-5 after seven minutes.
Cal Poly, also 2-for-19 from the floor to start the game, was held to another five-and-a-half minute scoreless stretch midway through the first half until layups on successive possessions by Fermin and Hanson helped the Mustangs cut their deficit to 24-17 with a minute to play. However, Pacific junior guard Markus Duran drained a three-pointer with six seconds remaining in the half to reaffirm Pacific's double-digit cushion heading into the break.
Cal Poly opened the second half by sinking four of its first six attempts from the floor and, fueled by a 15-6 run, the Mustangs clawed to their 33-32 deficit following a Hanson three-pointer and a pair of converted free throws by senior forward Will Donahue.
However, keyed by six-straight free throws by sophomore forward Ross Rivera – grandson of former Cal Poly head coach Ernie Wheeler (1972-86) – Pacific produced a 12-3 run during the ensuing four minutes to once again lead by double digits.
Still trailing by 10 points with four minutes left, the Mustangs converted a Pacific turnover into a Hanson dunk, received a layup from Fermin and saw sophomore guard Jamal Johnson knock down two free throws to close Pacific's gap to 53-49. The four-point chasm was as close as the Mustangs would come down the stretch.
Cal Poly, 10th among NCAA programs with just 10.8 turnovers committed per game, accumulated only nine on Thursday.