POSTGAME REACTION: JOE CALLERO | MATT TITCHENAL | WILL TAYLOR
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SAN JOSE, Calif. – Senior guard Matt Titchenal finished 4-for-4 from three-point range and with a career-high 16 points on Saturday evening as the Cal Poly men's basketball program solidified its best start to a season in 10 years by downing San Jose State at the Event Center, 47-40.
Senior forward Will Taylor added a game-high 10 rebounds and eight points for Cal Poly (6-3), which matched the 2001-02 Mustang squad for the program's best start in 18 Division I seasons. Cal Poly, which also dealt San Jose State (3-7) a 79-52 season-opening defeat on Nov. 12, turned the ball over just nine times and limited the Spartans to a 24.4 (11-for-45) percent shooting performance from the floor.
Cal Poly successfully forced San Jose State into nine turnovers during the first eight minutes, but the Spartans – through seven-straight points from freshman guard D.J. Brown – held a tenuous 11-10 lead just seven-and-a-half minutes before the break.
The Mustangs themselves managed just a single jumper from senior point guard Amaurys Fermin during an eight-minute stretch midway through the first half, but broke out of their stagnation with a pair of three-pointers from Titchenal and one from junior guard Dylan Royer. The sharpshooting helped Cal Poly close the first half with a 17-5 run as the Mustangs took a 27-19 lead into intermission.
Layups by sophomore guard Maliik Love and Taylor allowed the Mustangs to open the game's only double-digit lead at 31-21 early in the second half, but consecutive three-pointers from Spartan sophomore guard Keith Shamburger helped San Jose State quickly close Cal Poly's lead to two points with 12 minutes to play.
However, Titchenal – whose previous career scoring high was a nine-point effort during a 65-60 victory at UC Riverside on Jan. 20, 2011 – responded by sinking successive three-pointers to reaffirm Cal Poly's lead at 37-30.
The Mustangs suffered one final drought with a Taylor putback counting as Cal Poly's only points during a seven-minute stretch late in Saturday's matchup. However, Cal Poly limited San Jose State to a 3-for-23 performance from the floor during the second half to sweep the season series from the Spartans.
Fermin, the Big West Conference's assists leader at 4.22 per game, finished with a game-high five.
Cal Poly returns to the central coast to host NAIA Menlo College on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.