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Mustang Men's Basketball Looks to Continue Strong Start versus Saint Mary’s

Mustang Men's Basketball Looks to Continue Strong Start versus Saint Mary’s




SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Off to the program's best start since the 2001-02 Mustangs won six of their first eight contests, the Cal Poly men's basketball team completes a two-game home stand on Saturday, Dec. 3 against Saint Mary's. Tip time in Mott Gym is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Tom Barket will provide play-by-play detail of the matchup for HERE and in San Luis Obispo County on ESPN 1280. Livestats and streaming video will be available HERE.

Winners of three-straight decisions for the first time since winning six-successive contests late last season, Cal Poly (5-2) enters Saturday's showdown versus Saint Mary's (4-1) allowing Big West lows for opponent points (55.7) and rebounds (26.6) per game. Cal Poly also ranks second among conference programs in opponent three-point percentage (30.0).

Averaging 72.7 points per contest during the three-game winning streak, the Mustangs – sparked by junior guard Dylan Royer – have been particularly dangerous of late from three-point range. Royer, shooting a Big West-leading 65.5 (19-for-29) percent from three-point range this year, finished 5-for-7 from the arc against Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 26) and 5-for-5 against Sacramento State (Nov. 30). As a team, Cal Poly is shooting 48.5 percent from beyond the arc during the past three games.

"We're excited to host a program that owns one of the top-10 winning percentages in the nation during the previous five seasons," third-year Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero said. "We'll need to have Mott Gym packed with our students, alumni and community to pull off the victory. It's our central coast community that will allow us to create a true home-court advantage in Mott Gym."

Idle for five days after dealing Weber State an 87-70 defeat on Nov. 28, Saint Mary's is visiting Mott Gym for the first time since dropping a 72-59 decision on Nov. 26, 2006. The Gaels have never departed the central coast with a victory in five trips.

One of only eight Division I programs to have won 25-plus games during each of the previous four years, Saint Mary's – a 2011 NIT qualifier – enjoyed multiple-week stays last year in both the AP Top 25 and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls.

At halftime of Saturday's showdown, the Cal Poly Athletics Department will honor the 1970-71 Mustang men's basketball team for their historic accomplishments. Coached by Neale Stoner, the 1970-71 Mustangs – powered by an eight-game winning streak between Jan. 23 and Feb. 13 – chalked up a 6-2 mark in California Collegiate Athletic Association play to earn the program's first NCAA Division II Tournament berth. At the West Regional in Tacoma, Wash., Cal Poly – which averaged 82.3 points per contest during the season and broke the 90-point barrier on 10 occasions – dropped its tournament opener against host Puget Sound on March 11, 81-69. The Mustangs, however, rebounded two nights later in the consolation final to edge San Francisco State, 70-68.

Following Saturday's showdown, Cal Poly completes its two-game season series against San Jose State with a 7 p.m. matchup inside the Events Center on Saturday, Dec. 10. Behind a career-high 17 points from senior point guard Amaurys Fermin, Cal Poly opened the 2011-12 campaign by downing San Jose State inside Mott Gym on Nov. 12, 79-52.