Up Next: at UC Davis; Saturday, Jan. 28 (7 p.m.)
The Pavilion (Davis, Calif.)
Audio: HERE (Worldwide), ESPN 1280 (San Luis Obispo County) / Tom Barket (play-by-play)
Live Stats / Video: HERE
All-Time Series Record: Cal Poly, 29-13
Winning Streak: Cal Poly, 2
Last Meeting: Feb. 3, 2011 (CP, 65-56, @CP)
2010-11 Season Series: Cal Poly, 2-0
DAVIS, Calif. – In the midst of the program's second four-game road trip of the 2011-12 season, the Cal Poly men's basketball team visits UC Davis for a 7 p.m. matchup on Saturday, Jan. 28 inside The Pavilion. The Mustangs (12-9, 3-5) enter the matchup having prevailed just once in four Big West Conference road games this season following Thursday's 61-51 setback at Pacific. Despite entering Saturday's game seventh in the Big West standings, the Mustangs reside just two-and-a-half games behind second-place Cal State Fullerton (13-6, 5-2). UC Davis (1-18, 0-7), currently leaking a Big West-leading 75.6 points per game, also ranks second from bottom among conference programs with just 61.6 points scored per night.
HOW TO ENJOY MUSTANG BASKETBALL SATURDAY NIGHT: Tom Barket returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail of Cal Poly's Saturday matchup at UC Davis for GoPoly.com HERE and in San Luis Obispo County on ESPN 1280. The pre-game show with Mustang assistant coach Omar Lowery begins at 6:45 p.m. Live stats and streaming video of the contest is available HERE.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC DAVIS: Including last season's 48-43 triumph at UC Davis, Cal Poly has prevailed during four of its previous five visits to The Pavilion. The Mustangs, who swept last season's series against UC Davis, hold a 29-13 advantage against the Aggies since the first meeting between the two sides on Dec. 30, 1946.
DEFENSE REMAINS AT THE FOREFRONT: A year after developing a national reputation for defensive stinginess, the Mustangs remain atop the Big West and NCAA defensive charts. Cal Poly enters Saturday's matchup at UC Davis ranked 10th among NCAA programs in opponent points per game (57.1), as well as leading the Big West in opponent three-point percentage (32.3) and opponent rebounds per game (29.1). Highlighted by limiting USC to 36 points on Nov. 19 – the fewest points scored by a Cal Poly opponent in 18 years at the Division I level – the Mustangs have held foes under 60 points during 12 of 21 games this year. The Mustangs have also held opponents under 30 percent from three-point range a further nine times during the 2011-12 season.
CAL POLY TOUGH ON THE BOARDS: Cal Poly has grabbed the same amount of boards or outrebounded its opponent during 19 of 21 games this year, mass production that has the Mustangs ranked 12th nationally in rebounding margin (plus-7.5) entering Saturday's matchup at UC Davis. Not surprisingly, Cal Poly is 11-5 this season when outrebounding the opposition with the only defeats coming at DePaul (Dec. 21), versus UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 2) and Long Beach State (Jan. 5, Jan. 19) and at UC Riverside (Jan. 14).
POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF THE WIN: Cal poly enters Saturday's matchup at UC Davis ranked 10th among NCAA programs with just 10.8 turnovers committed per game. Also 51st nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.14-to-1), the Mustangs have finished with a single-digit turnover total during nine of their last 15 games.
MUSTANGS ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES: Cal Poly has compiled a 6-2 record this year following a loss and just twice this season have the Mustangs dropped consecutive games. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Cal Poly has posted a 13-9 mark following a defeat.
EVERSLEY EMERGING: Sophomore forward Chris Eversley had recorded just 52 points during his initial 15 contests as a Mustang, but the Chicago native and 2010 transfer from Rice has reached double-digit scoring figures during five of Cal Poly's last six outings and, since Jan. 7, ranked second among Mustangs with 11.8 points per six games. Eversley, who scored a career-high 19 points against Cal State Northridge (Jan. 21), has thrice grabbed a collegiate-best nine rebounds, most recently at Pacific (Jan. 26).
FERMIN FORGES THE BULLETS FOR CAL POLY TO FIRE: The Big West's most efficient point guard, senior Amaurys Fermin enters Saturday's matchup at UC Davis leading all conference players in assists (77) and ranking second in assists per game (3.67) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67-to-1). Fermin, who matched a career high with eight assists at DePaul (Dec. 21), also ranks second among Mustangs with 15 double-digit scoring games and 10.7 points per contest. After redshirting the 2009-10 (transfer) and 2010-11 (injury) seasons, Fermin has started all 21 games for Cal Poly this year.
HANSON'S HIGHLIGHT EFFORTS: A 19-point, 11-rebound performance at Pacific (Jan. 26) marked senior forward David Hanson's fourth double-double during Cal Poly's previous 10 games. The program's leader with 16 double-digit scoring games after notching just four total points during Cal Poly's opening two contests, Hanson enters Saturday's matchup at UC Davis leading all Mustangs with 11.7 points per game and ranking 11th among Big West rebounders with 5.7 boards per game.
TAYLOR CONTINUES TO RISE TO THE OCCASION: With five double-doubles tucked into his back pocket this season – including an 18-point, 10-rebound effort against Cal State Northridge (Jan. 21) – senior forward Will Taylor enters Saturday's matchup at UC Davis leading all Big West players with a 54.3 (89-for-164) percent field goal mark and ranking third with 7.6 rebounds per game. A starter during all 21 of Cal Poly's contests after redshirting last season, Taylor has grabbed seven-plus rebounds in a game 12 times this year, recorded double-digit scoring figures 10 times and shot higher than 60 percent from the floor on eight occasions.
BRACKETBUSTER ON THE HORIZON: Pairings and television matchups for the 10th-annual ESPN BracketBuster series will be announced on Monday, Jan. 30. Scheduled to play this year's BracketBuster matchup on the road on Feb. 19, Cal Poly fell to 3-2 all-time in the series following last year's 59-56 last-second loss against Northern Arizona.
LAST TIME OUT (JAN. 26): Hanson scored a season-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to register his fourth double-double of the year, but Cal Poly, despite closing a double-digit Pacific lead to one point during the second half, ultimately fell against the Tigers inside the Spanos Center, 61-51.
Fermin added 13 points for the Mustangs, 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.
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 at Pacific. The Tigers, who 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.