Big West Tournament Seeding on Line Tonight for Mustang Men’s Basketball Team
COMPLETE PREVIEW AND PLAYER BIOS (pdf)
VIDEO PREVIEWS: JOE CALLERO | DAVID HANSON
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly men's basketball program looks to snap a season-long three-game slide and lock down a seed for the 2012 Big West Conference Tournament when completing regular season action against UC Davis (Thursday, March 1) and Pacific (March 3). Both matchups tip at 7 p.m. inside Mott Gym with Saturday's showdown against Pacific set to be televised locally on KSBY. The Mustangs (15-14, 6-8) enter the final stretch of the season deadlocked in a fourth-place knot in the Big West standings with Pacific (11-16, 6-8) and UC Irvine (11-17, 6-8), but can cement the No. 4 seed for the March 8-10 conference tournament by winning twice this week. UC Davis (3-11, 5-23) will face regular season champion and top-seeded Long Beach State (21-7, 14-0) during the opening round of the Big West Tournament. Pacific, which dealt Cal Poly a 61-51 defeat on Jan. 26, visits UC Santa Barbara on Thursday before facing the Mustangs in the regular season finale.
HOW TO ENJOY MUSTANG BASKETBALL THIS WEEK: Tom Barket returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail of both of Cal Poly's upcoming matchups for GoPoly.com and in San Luis Obispo County on ESPN 1280. Live stats will be available for both games via GoPoly.com, as will streaming video from Thursday's contest against UC Davis. Andrew Masuda will provide play-by-play detail and Bill Halter color commentary for KSBY of Saturday's locally-televised matchup versus Pacific.
LOOKING AHEAD: The 37th Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament gets underway at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., with four quarterfinal matchups on Thursday, March 8. The two semifinal showdowns, televised nationally on ESPNU, take place on March 9 at 6:30 and 9 p.m. The championship game, with an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament on the line, is set for Saturday, March 10 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Entering the final week of regular season play, only two of the eligible eight programs have locked down seeds for the Big West Tournament.
2012 Big West Conference Tournament
Honda Center (Anaheim, Calif.)
Thursday, March 8 (Quarterfinal)
No. 3 vs. No. 6, 12 noon
No. 2 vs. No. 7, 30 minutes after
No. 1 Long Beach State vs. No. 8 UC Davis, 6 p.m.
No. 4 vs. No. 5, 30 minutes after
Friday, March 9 (Semifinal/ESPNU)
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining, 6:30 p.m.
Remaining Seeds, 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 10 (Championship/ESPN2)
Remaining Seeds, 7 p.m.
SENIORS SAY GOODBYE: Prior to Saturday's regular season finale against Pacific, Cal Poly will honor its six outgoing senior players competing for the final time in Mott Gym: forwards David Hanson (above), Jordan Lewis and Will Taylor; guards Amaurys Fermin and Matt Titchenal and center Will Donahue.
MUSTANGS SET TO MAKE HISTORY: Having already matched last season's overall victory total, Cal Poly requires just one additional triumph to post the program's highest win total since finishing 19-11 during the 2006-07 campaign. Cal Poly has never posted a 20-win season through 18 Division I campaigns. After posting a 10-6 mark in Big West play last year, the Mustangs are also looking to finish in the top half of the conference standings in successive years for the first time since the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC DAVIS: The Mustangs furthered their winning streak against UC Davis to three successive triumphs on Jan. 28 with a 67-65 road victory (a game during which the Aggies actually led by 17 points late during the first half). The Aggies have prevailed just once in four previous trips to Mott Gym as a Division I and Big West member. The Mustangs own a 30-13 advantage against the Aggies since the first meeting between the two sides on Dec. 30, 1946.
CAL POLY VERSUS PACIFIC: Despite last season's 58-39 loss in which Cal Poly held the Tigers to the (then) lowest point total by a Mustang opponent in 26 years, Pacific has prevailed during three of its last four visits to the central coast. Pacific leads the all-time series, 33-7, since the first meeting between the two programs on Jan. 17, 1947.
POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF THE WIN: Cal Poly enters Thursday's matchup versus UC Davis ranked 14th among NCAA programs and first among Big West squads with just 10.8 turnovers committed per game. Also 39th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.16-to-1), the Mustangs have finished with a single-digit turnover total 12 times this season.
DEFENSE REMAINS AT THE FOREFRONT: Despite the current three-game slide, Cal Poly enters Thursday's matchup versus UC Davis ranked 47th among NCAA programs in opponent points per game (61.6) as well as leading the Big West in opponent rebounds per game (29.6). 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 13 of 29 games this year. The Mustangs have also held opponents under 30 percent from three-point range a further 11 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 24 of 29 games this year, mass production that has the Mustangs ranked 39th nationally and second among Big West squads in rebounding margin (plus-4.8) entering Thursday's matchup versus UC Davis. Not surprisingly, Cal Poly is 13-7 this season when outrebounding the opposition with the only defeats coming at DePaul (Dec. 21), versus UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 2, Feb. 25) and Long Beach State (Jan. 5, Jan. 19) and at UC Riverside (Jan. 14) and CSU Bakersfield (Feb. 4).
MUSTANG BOUNCEBACKABILITY: Cal Poly has compiled an 8-5 record this year following a loss and, just once this year, suffered as many as three consecutive losses. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Cal Poly has posted a 15-12 mark following a defeat.
EVERSLEY'S EVOLUTION: 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 registered double-digit scoring figures during 10 of the program's previous 14 outings and, since Jan. 7, leads Cal Poly with 12.5 points per game. A starter during Cal Poly's last eight games after scoring a career-high 19 points against Cal State Northridge (Jan. 21), Eversley's latest highlight effort was an 18-point endeavor at Northern Colorado (Feb. 18). Eversley has also been a factor on the boards as his first career double-double – an 11-point, 14-rebound effort against UC Riverside (Feb. 9) – included the highest single-game rebounding total by a Mustang in 364 days. In total this year, Eversley has produced six games of 15-plus points and five contests of nine-plus rebounds.
TAYLOR CONTINUES TO RISE TO THE OCCASION: Backed by a team-leading five double-doubles this season, senior forward Will Taylor enters Thursday's matchup versus Pacific ranked third among Big West players with a 53.2 (117-for-220) percent field goal mark and fourth with 6.9 rebounds per game. A starter during all 29 of Cal Poly's contests after redshirting last season, Taylor has grabbed seven-plus rebounds in a game 15 times this year, recorded double-digit scoring figures 14 times and shot higher than 60 percent from the floor on 11 occasions.
FERMIN FORGES THE BULLETS FOR CAL POLY TO FIRE: Arguably the Big West's most efficient point guard, senior Amaurys Fermin enters Thursday's matchup versus UC Davis leading all Big West players in assists (106), ranked second in assists per game (3.66) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.56-to-1). Fermin, who dispatched a career-high eight assists at DePaul (Dec. 21) and matched it at Northern Colorado (Feb. 18), also ranks second among Mustangs with 16 double-digit scoring games and third with 9.7 points per contest. After redshirting the 2009-10 (transfer) and 2010-11 (injury) seasons, Fermin has started all 29 games for Cal Poly this year.
ROYER'S CATCH AND RELEASE POLICY: The Big West's top three-point threat with a 46.4 (64-for-138) percent mark from the arc, junior guard Dylan Royer would rank ninth among approximately 4,225 Division I players had he met the NCAA statistical minimum of 2.5 made three-pointers per game. The only central coast native on Cal Poly's roster, Royer has twice knocked down a career-high five three-pointers this season: versus Mississippi Valley State (5-for-7, Nov. 26) and Sacramento State (5-for-5, Nov. 30). Royer's latest highlight effort from the arc came at UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 25), when he sank four three-pointers for the third time this season. Fifth among Mustangs with 7.6 points per contest, Royer has hit at least one three-pointer during 27 of 29 games this season and knocked down multiple three-pointers 20 times. Royer, who scored 41 combined points between his freshman and sophomore seasons, has registered 221 as a junior. He's also started during 19 of 29 games this year after making just 28 combined appearances (without a start) during his first two seasons.
HANSON'S HIGHLIGHT EFFORTS: Cal Poly's leader with 21 double-digit scoring games after notching just four total points during the program's opening two contests, senior forward David Hanson enters Thursday's matchup versus UC Davis also leading the Mustangs with 11.4 points per contest and ranked second with four double-doubles. Hanson, second among Mustangs with 5.2 rebounds per game, has recorded double-digit scoring figures during 12 of Cal Poly's previous 15 games.
20-20 VISION: Through 29 contests this season, no Cal Poly player has scored 20 points during a game. During the course of the season, three different Mustangs have registered 19 points in a game: Will Taylor (vs. Menlo College, Dec. 14), Chris Eversley (vs. Cal State Northridge, Jan. 21) and David Hanson (at Pacific, Jan. 26). Additionally, Cal Poly players have posted an 18-point game seven separate times.
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 is again facing another testing schedule during the 2011-12 campaign. Should Cal Poly face either Long Beach State or UC Santa Barbara during the Big West Tournament, the matchup will mark the ninth contest this season that the Mustangs will have played against a program that qualified for either the 2011 NCAA Tournament or NIT.
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.
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 21-14 overall mark in Mott Gym, a 13-9 record against Big West opposition and, this season alone, allowed just 60.3 points per game.
MUSTANGS REWRITE RECORD BOOK: Cal Poly broke a 23-year-old program record for single-game free throw shooting by sinking 16 of 17 (94.1) attempts during a 77-74 victory against UC Irvine (Feb. 11). The previous record of 93.8 percent was set during a 67-56 home victory against Chapman on Feb. 3, 1989.
DEAR DIARY: In what ranked as one of the finest offensive displays in Cal Poly program history, the Mustangs registered numerous historic achievements during their 100-54, regionally-televised decimation of Cal State Northridge on Jan. 21:
– Consecutive Three-Pointers: The Mustangs matched a 25-year-old NCAA record by knocking down their first 11 three-point attempts. The Mustangs, 11-for-11 during the first half before finally missing to open the second, equaled sharp-shooting marks established by Niagara (Jan. 7, 1987) and Eastern Kentucky (Jan. 14, 1987).
Three-Point Percentage, Single Game: Cal Poly's 71.4 (15-for-21) mark from beyond the arc established a new program single-game record.
Margin of Victory: Cal Poly's highest since dismantling Cal State Monterey Bay, 104-50 (Nov. 30, 2000) – a span of 334 games.
Point Total: The program's loftiest amount since toppling Hawai'i, 102-89 (Feb. 21, 2010) in an ESPN BracketBuster matchup.
Home Point Total: Cal Poly's highest total since dismantling Portland State, 100-79 (Nov. 27, 2001) – a span of 306 total games.
Players in Double-Digit Scoring Figures (Five): Aside from a 91-58 (Dec. 14) victory versus NAIA Menlo, the second time this season Cal Poly reached the total. It also marked the third time under third-year head coach Joe Callero that the Mustangs had managed five double-digit scorers.
HAWAI'I AND SAN DIEGO STATE SET TO JOIN BIG WEST CONFERENCE: Cal Poly's number of conference games will swell to 18 next season and 20 for the 2013-14 campaign with the successive additions of Hawai'i and San Diego State to the Big West. Previously a member of the Big West from 1984-96, Hawai'i will resume official competition during the 2012-13 campaign with San Diego State – an original conference member (1969-78) – set to rejoin the following year. Both schools will compete in every sport in which the Big West sponsors a championship.
MUSTANGS SIGN THREE FOR 2012-13 CAMPAIGN: Joe Callero and the Mustang Athletics Department increased Cal Poly's collective height and strengthened the program's collective depth on Nov. 9 with the joint announcement that 6-7 Zachary Allmon (San Luis Obispo, Calif. / Mission College Prep), 6-9 Brian Bennett (Romeoville, Ill. / Plainfield East HS) and 6-8 Josh Hall (Brush Prarie, Wash. / St. John's Northwestern Military Academy) each signed National Letters of Intent to join the Mustangs for the 2012-13 campaign. As a junior during the 2010-11 campaign, Allmon averaged 12.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game for a Mission Prep side that reached the California Interscholastic Federation Division 5-AA semifinals. An All-San Luis Obispo County first team selection last season, Allmon also served as a captain for the Royals. Bennett helped lead Plainfield East HS to the program's first victory in the Illinois State Tournament during the 2010-11 season. Ranked among the Southwest Prairie Conference's leaders in both field goal and free throw percentage, Bennett has been named to the honor roll during each of his semesters at Plainfield East HS. Hall is attending St. John's Northwestern Military Academy (Delafield, Wisc.) following a standout career at Hockinson HS. Hall earned All-Washington first team praise and was named Most Valuable Player of the Greater St. Helens League as a senior during the 2010-11 campaign after averaging more than 20 points per game and leading the Hawks to a conference championship. A four-year All-Greater St. Helens League first team honoree, Hall owns half of Hockinson's school scoring records, including career points (1,571).
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 lone victories when trailing at halftime this season came at USC on Nov. 19 (trailed, 20-13) and at UC Davis on Jan. 28 (trailed, 39-25) … Cal Poly's lone defeat when leading at halftime was a 59-54 home defeat against Saint Mary's (the Mustangs led at the break, 26-25) … Cal Poly's Nov. 22 matchup at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center drew 12,061 spectators, the largest attendance figure for the Mustangs since 17,230 fans packed Wisconsin's Kohl Center on Dec. 16, 2009 … Cal Poly's 62-61 victory against Morgan State (Nov. 25) was the program's 200th triumph at the Division I level … a 58-57 Big West Conference-opening loss against UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 2) marked Cal Poly's 500th game at the Division I level … Cal Poly's 65-50 triumph at UC Irvine (Jan. 12) marked the program's 100th Big West victory.