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Mustangs Wrap Regular Season Saturday with Televised Game versus Pacific

COMPLETE GAME PREVIEW (pdf)

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Pacific
Saturday, March 3 (7:05 p.m.)
Mott Gym (San Luis Obispo)
Television: KSBY (local only)
Audio: HERE (Worldwide), ESPN 1280 (San Luis Obispo County) / Tom Barket (play-by-play)
Live Stats: HERE
All-Time Series Record: Pacific, 33-7
Winning Streak: Pacific, 1
Last Meeting: Jan. 26, 2012 (UOP, 61-51, @UOP)
Last Home Meeting: Feb. 5, 2011 (CP, 58-39)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly men's basketball program completes regular season action and looks to lock down the No. 4 seed for the March 8-10 Big West Conference Tournament when hosting Pacific on Saturday, March 3 inside Mott Gym. Televised locally on KSBY (San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties), the matchup tips at 7:05 p.m. A win – regardless of any other result in Big West play on Saturday – cements Cal Poly (16-14, 7-8) the No. 4 seed and an 8:30 p.m. quarterfinal matchup when the Big West Tournament opens on Thursday, March 8 inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. A loss, and the Mustangs can still tumble as far as sixth in the final conference standings. Pacific (11-17, 6-9) enters Saturday's matchup deadlocked in a three-way knot for fifth place in the conference standings with UC Riverside (13-16, 6-9) and UC Irvine (11-18, 6-9). The Tigers, who defeated the Mustangs, 61-51 (Jan. 26), can still rise as high as the No. 4 seed and sink as low as No. 7 depending on the result of its encounter with Cal Poly and the result of Saturday's 5 p.m. game between UC Irvine and UC Riverside.

HOW TO ENJOY MUSTANG BASKETBALL SATURDAY: Tom Barket returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail of Cal Poly's Saturday showdown versus Pacific HERE and in San Luis Obispo County on ESPN 1280. Live stats of the matchup will be available HERE. Andrew Masuda will handle play-by-play duties and Bill Halter color commentary for KSBY in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

LOOKING AHEAD: The 37th Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament gets underway 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 Saturday's final round of games, 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, Jordan Lewis and Will Taylor; guards Amaurys Fermin (above) and Matt Titchenal and center Will Donahue.

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.

MUSTANGS SET TO MAKE MORE HISTORY: Cal Poly's 69-56 victory against UC Davis (March 1) allowed the Mustangs to reach their highest overall victory total since the 2006-07 squad finished 19-11. 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 require a victory on Saturday versus Pacific 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.

FERMIN FORGES THE BULLETS FOR CAL POLY TO FIRE: Arguably the Big West's most efficient point guard, senior Amaurys Fermin enters Saturday's matchup versus Pacific leading all Big West players in assists (110), ranked second in assists per game (3.7) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6-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 30 games for Cal Poly this year.

ROYER'S CATCH AND RELEASE POLICY: The Big West's top three-point threat with a 47.6 (68-for-143) percent mark from the arc, junior guard Dylan Royer would rank fourth 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). Catching fire at the right time, Royer has knocked down four three-pointers during Cal Poly previous two games against UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 25) and UC Davis (March 1). Fifth among Mustangs with 7.8 points per contest, Royer has hit at least one three-pointer during 28 of 30 games this season and knocked down multiple three-pointers 21 times. Royer, who scored 41 combined points between his freshman and sophomore seasons, has registered 235 as a junior. He's also started during 20 of 30 games this year after making just 28 combined appearances (without a start) during his first two seasons.

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 11 of the program's previous 15 outings and, since Jan. 7, leads Cal Poly with 12.5 points per game. A starter during eight of Cal Poly's previous nine games after scoring a career-high 19 points against Cal State Northridge (Jan. 21), Eversley's latest highlight effort was an 13-point reserve endeavor against UC Davis (March 1). 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 Saturday's matchup versus Pacific ranked third among Big West players with a 53.3 (120-for-225) percent field goal mark and fourth with 6.9 rebounds per game. A starter during all 30 of Cal Poly's contests after redshirting last season, Taylor has grabbed seven-plus rebounds in a game 16 times this year, recorded double-digit scoring figures 14 times and shot higher than 60 percent from the floor on 12 occasions.

HANSON'S HIGHLIGHT EFFORTS: Cal Poly's leader with 22 double-digit scoring games after notching just four total points during the program's opening two contests, senior forward David Hanson enters Saturday's matchup versus Pacific also leading the Mustangs with 11.6 points per contest and ranked second with five double-doubles after a 16-point, 11-rebound performance versus UC Davis (March 1). Hanson, 15th among Big West players with 5.4 rebounds per game, has recorded double-digit scoring figures during 13 of Cal Poly's previous 16 games.

20-20 VISION: Through 30 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.

POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF THE WIN: Cal Poly enters Saturday's matchup versus Pacific ranked 15th among NCAA programs and first among Big West squads with just 10.8 turnovers committed per game. Also 46th 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: Cal Poly enters Saturday's matchup versus Pacific ranked 45th among NCAA programs in opponent points per game (61.4) as well as leading the Big West in opponent rebounds per game (29.4). 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 14 of 30 games this year. The Mustangs have also held opponents under 30 percent from three-point range a further 12 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 25 of 30 games this year, mass production that has the Mustangs ranked 36th nationally and second among Big West squads in rebounding margin (plus-5.0) entering Saturday's matchup versus Pacific. Not surprisingly, Cal Poly is 14-7 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 a 9-5 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 16-12 mark following a defeat.

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 22-14 overall mark in Mott Gym, a 14-9 record against Big West opposition and, this season alone, allowed just 60.0 points per game.