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Curtain Drops Saturday on 2011-12 Campaign for Men's Basketball

Curtain Drops Saturday on 2011-12 Campaign for Men's Basketball



SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. The Cal Poly men's basketball program opens the 2011-12 campaign and its 18th season of Division I competition by hosting San Jose State on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. inside Mott Gym. The Mustangs, who return four starters and nine letterwinners from a 2010-11 side that finished 15-15 overall and matched single-season school records for highest showing in the Big West standings (second), highest seeding for the conference tournament (second) and total Big West victories (10-6), are 8-9 in season-opening games at the Division I level.

Tom Barket returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail of Cal Poly's Nov. 12 matchup versus San Jose State for HERE and in San Luis Obispo County on ESPN 1280. Livestats and streaming video are also available HERE.

Following Cal Poly's Saturday season opener, the Mustang football team will close out its 2011 home schedule at Alex G. Spanos Stadium with a 6:05 p.m. showdown against defending Football Conference Subdivision champion Eastern Washington. Fans holding tickets for the football game will gain free entry into the basketball contest.

Dating to Cal Poly's first matchup against San Jose State – a 62-36 loss on Feb. 14, 1947 – the Spartans hold a 15-2 all-time series advantage against the Mustangs. San Jose State won the initial 11 meetings between the two sides until the Mustangs prevailed on Feb. 6, 1953. Following the 1954-55 season, the two programs failed to meet until Cal Poly delivered a 70-62 triumph on Nov. 23, 2003.

Leading Cal Poly's returning unit is 6-5 senior forward David Hanson, who earned 2010-11 All-Big West praise after finishing eighth among conference players with 15.2 points per contest. Hanson, who registered 23 double-digit scoring games last season, averaged 35.3 minutes per contest to finish second among Big West players … anchoring the Mustang front court are 6-8 senior center Will Donahue, whose 8.9 boards per game last year ranked 49th among NCAA Division I rebounders, and 6-5 senior forward Jordan Lewis, who shot 44 percent from the floor a year ago … Hanson, Donahue and Lewis will be joined by 6-7 junior forward Will Taylor, who redshirted last year after leading the 2009-10 Mustang squad with 28 steals … Chris Eversley, a 6-6 sophomore forward and 2010 transfer from Rice, will make his Mustang debut after redshirting last year … the 6-7 Joel Awich, a freshman forward who earned All-Classic Suburban Conference honors as a senior at Tartan HS (Oakdale, Minn.) last year, is expected to redshirt his first season on the Cal Poly campus … Cal Poly's 14-man active roster features eight guards, including 2010-11 Big West Freshman of the Year selection Maliik Love. As an 18-year-old true freshman last year, the 6-2 Love started 28 of 30 contests for the Mustangs and paced Cal Poly with a 47.2 percent shooting mark from the floor … senior Matt Titchenal (15 appearances last year), junior Dylan Royer (team-leading 45.5 percent three-point mark), junior Drake U'u (18 appearances) and sophomore Jamal Johnson (30 appearances) all return in the back court for Cal Poly … the Mustangs will be boosted by the return of two guards forced to redshirt last season due to injury. Senior Amaurys Fermin, a strong candidate for Cal Poly's starting point position, will make his Mustang debut after missing last season with a torn knee ligament … sophomore Kyle Odister, selected to the 2009-10 All-Big West Freshman Team after averaging 7.8 points per game, also returns to the lineup after missing last year with an ankle injury … rounding out Cal Poly's guard rotation is freshman Reese Morgan, who earned Parade Magazine All-America fourth team praise last year after averaging 27.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game at Peninsula HS (Palos Verdes, Calif.).

Junior guard Chris O'Brien, who paced Cal Poly with a 1.52-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in 26 starts last year, suffered a season-ending ACL injury prior to the start of the regular season and will miss the 2011-12 campaign.

David Hanson requires 121 points to become the third Mustang in as many seasons and the 17th player in program history to notch 1,000 career points. Hanson, who finished eighth among Big West players last year with 455 total points and 15.2 per 30 games, is currently sixth among active conference players in career points. Guard Shawn Lewis completed his four-year Mustang career last season as the seventh-leading scorer in program history with 1,304 points while guard Lorenzo Keeler (2007-10) ended his tenure ranked No. 11 with 1,157 points.

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 third-year head coach Joe Callero, Cal Poly has posted a 13-11 overall mark in Mott Gym, a 9-7 record against Big West opposition and, last season alone, allowed just 54.4 points per 12 home games.

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. Below is a listing of Cal Poly's 2011-12 television schedule, including tentative dates.

Jan. 2 UC Santa Barbara (KSBY-TV)
Jan. 21 Cal State Northridge (PRIME)
Feb. 18 ESPNU BracketBuster (Pending)
Feb. 25 at UC Santa Barbara (ESPNU)
March 3 Pacific (KSBY-TV)
March 9 Big West Tournament semifinal (ESPNU; pending)
March 10 Big West Tournament championship (ESPN2; pending)

MUSTANGS PREVAIL IN EXHIBITION (NOV. 6): David Hanson led all players with 14 points and Will Donahue added 10 as Cal Poly completed preparations for the regular season with a 63-46 exhibition victory against Division II Notre Dame de Namur. Amaurys Fermin, Will Taylor and Chris Eversley all finished with eight points for Cal Poly, which found itself deadlocked at halftime (29-29) against the Argonauts before doubling up Notre Dame de Namur during the second half, 34-17. Cal Poly held Notre Dame de Namur to a 36.4 (16-for-44) percent shooting mark from the floor. Taylor led all players with a game-high eight rebounds.

Cal Poly earned national acclaim for its defensive prowess during the 2010-11 campaign as the Mustangs ranked third among all Division I programs in opponent three-point percentage (28.7), sixth in opponent points per game (58.9) and 25th in opponent field goal percentage (40.0). Additionally, Cal Poly held an opponent to 60 points or fewer on 16 occasions last year.

MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2011-12: In what has become a hallmark of head coach Joe Callero's tenure, Cal Poly will again face another testing schedule during the 2011-12 campaign. Beginning with a Nov. 19 clash at Pac-12 Conference opponent USC, Cal Poly will contest seven games this season against programs that qualified for either the 2011 NCAA Tournament or NIT.

LOOKING AHEAD (NOV. 14-20): Cal Poly completes its season-opening two-game home stand against Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday, Nov. 16 (7 p.m.) before visiting USC on Saturday, Nov. 19 (1 p.m.). Cal State Bakersfield, defeated by Cal Poly last season, opens its campaign at Oregon State on Nov. 12. USC, hosting Cal Poly for the first time since Dec. 22, 2007, hosts fellow Big West foe Cal State Northridge on Nov. 11 and Nebraska on Nov. 14.

HAWAI'I SAYS ALOHA TO BIG WEST CONFERENCE: The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced the addition of Hawai'i as the conference's 10th member institution on Dec. 10, 2010. Previously a member of the Big West from 1984-96, Hawai'i will begin official conference competition during the 2012-13 campaign.