BIG WEST TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL PREVIEW (pdf)
BIG WEST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT MEDIA GUIDE (pdf)
BIG WEST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT BRACKET (pdf)
LATEST VIDEO: CAL POLY LOOSENS UP FOR BIG WEST TOURNAMENT
Up Next: Big West Conference Tournament Semifinal
Friday, March 9 (9 p.m.)
Honda Center (Anaheim, Calif.)
Television: ESPNU / Mark Jones (play-by-play), Miles Simon (color)
Internet Stream: ESPN3.com
Audio: HERE (Worldwide), ESPN 1280 (San Luis Obispo County) / Tom Barket (play-by-play)
Live Stats: HERE
Series Winning Streak: UC Santa Barbara, 4
Last Meeting: Feb. 25, 2012 (UCSB, 68-60, @UCSB)
Last Big West Tournament Meeting: March 9, 2006 (CP, 57-50; quarterfinal)
Last Cal Poly Victory: Feb. 27, 2010 (60-57, @CP)
ANAHEIM, Calif. – In to the semifinal round of the Big West Conference Tournament for the first time in five years and for just the fourth time in program history, the fourth-seeded Cal Poly men's basketball program will meet No. 3 and central coast rival UC Santa Barbara on Friday, March 9 for the right to advance to Saturday's championship finale. Tip time for the nationally-televised ESPNU and ESPN3.com matchup inside the Honda Center (Anaheim, Calif.) is set for 9 p.m. Behind senior point guard Amaurys Fermin (16 points) and senior forward David Hanson (above; 12 points, 11 rebounds), who secured his sixth double-double of the 2011-12 campaign, Cal Poly (18-14) advanced to Friday's semifinal with a 66-54 Thursday triumph against fifth-seeded UC Riverside. Two-time defending Big West Tournament champion UC Santa Barbara (19-9), meanwhile, reached its fifth-straight semifinal appearance by destroying sixth-seeded Pacific earlier on Thursday, 72-52. Top-seeded Long Beach State (23-8) will face No. 7 UC Irvine (12-19) during Friday's opening 6:30 p.m. semifinal matchup.
LOOKING AHEAD: The winners of Friday's semifinal matchups will advance to Saturday's championship bout, scheduled 7 p.m. and set to be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. The remaining Big West Tournament schedule is below. The selection show for the 2012 NCAA Tournament will air on CBS on Sunday, March 11 at 3 p.m. PT. The NCAA Tournament gets underway with the First Four, scheduled for March 13-14 at the University of Dayton Arena. The second and third rounds are slated for March 15-18 at eight regional sites: Albuquerque, Columbus, Greensboro, Louisville, Nashville, Omaha, Pittsburgh and Portland.
2012 Big West Conference Tournament
Honda Center (Anaheim, Calif.)
Friday, March 9 (Semifinal / ESPNU, ESPN3.com)
No. 1 Long Beach State (23-8) vs. No. 7 UC Irvine (12-19), 6:30 p.m.
No. 3 UC Santa Barbara (19-9) vs. No. 4 Cal Poly (18-14), 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 10 (Championship / ESPN2, ESPN3.com)
Remaining Seeds, 7 p.m.
HOW TO ENJOY CAL POLY AT THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT: Tom Barket returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail of Cal Poly's Friday semifinal matchup on ESPN 1280 in San Luis Obispo County and globally HERE, beginning with the pre-game show at 8:45 p.m. Live stats for Friday's semifinal are available HERE. Mark Jones will provide play-by-play detail and Miles Simon color commentary for both of Friday's semifinal matchups on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE: Cal Poly's last victory against UC Santa Barbara and the program's only victory versus the Gauchos under third-year Mustang head coach Joe Callero was a 60-57 home triumph on Feb. 27, 2010. Helped by final-second, game-winning shots from UC Santa Barbara guards James Nunnelly (2011) and Orlando Johnson (2012) on Cal Poly's home court, the Gauchos have swept the last two season series from the Mustangs.
CAL POLY AT THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT: The Mustangs are 6-9 in nine appearances in the Big West Tournament and have advanced as far as the championship game during the 2003 and 2007 editions. Cal Poly's first title game appearance in 2003 resulted in a 57-54 loss against No. 3 Utah State. Seeded second in 2007 after finishing in a three-way tie for second place in the Big West standings, Cal Poly trounced Cal State Fullerton during the semifinals (81-56) before falling in the championship versus top-seeded Long Beach State (94-83). Overall, Cal Poly is 5-5 during its first tournament game and 2-1 in semifinal matchups. Cal Poly's lone semifinal loss occurred in 2006, when the fourth-seeded Mustangs fell versus No. 1 Pacific, 68-57. Aside from conference tournaments, Cal Poly has never played a postseason game in 18 Division I seasons.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA AT THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT: The Mustangs maintain a 2-1 Big West Tournament edge against UC Santa Barbara, though the two programs haven't met since the Mustangs eliminated the Gauchos during the 2006 quarterfinals, 57-50. Cal Poly's first Big West Tournament meeting against its central coast rival resulted in a 74-65 first-round elimination on March 7, 2002. The Mustangs, however, reached their first Big West Tournament championship game appearance by derailing the Gauchos during the 2003 edition, 67-52.
Cal Poly-UC Santa Barbara Big West Tournament Results
March 7, 2002 (First Round): UC Santa Barbara, 74-65
March 14, 2003 (Semifinal): Cal Poly, 67-52
March 9, 2006 (Quarterfinal): Cal Poly, 57-50
MUSTANGS A VICTORY AWAY FROM HISTORY: A win during Friday's Big West Tournament semifinal against UC Santa Barbara will allow Cal Poly to match the 2006-07 Mustang squad's Division I program record of 19 wins in a season. The Mustangs have already solidified their first winning campaign since that 2006-07 squad finished 19-11. After finishing second in the Big West standings last year, Cal Poly's fourth-place showing this spring helped mark the program's first successive finishes in the top half of the conference standings since the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.
HANSON'S HIGHLIGHT EFFORTS: Cal Poly's leader with 23 double-digit scoring games after registering 12 points during the March 8 quarterfinal victory against UC Riverside, senior forward David Hanson – a 2011-12 All-Big West second team selection and the program's all-time leader with 121 appearances – enters Friday's semifinal matchup also leading the Mustangs with 11.5 points per contest and ranked second with six double-doubles. Hanson, second among Mustangs with 5.5 rebounds per game, has recorded double-digit scoring figures during 14 of Cal Poly's previous 18 games.
TAYLOR RISES TO THE OCCASION AS A SENIOR: Backed by a team-leading five double-doubles this season, senior forward Will Taylor enters Friday's semifinal at the Big West Tournament ranked second among conference players with a 53.2 (126-for-237) percent field goal mark and fourth with 6.8 rebounds per game. A starter during all 32 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 15 times and shot higher than 60 percent from the floor on 13 occasions.
THE EVOLUTION OF CHRIS EVERSLEY: 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 13 of the program's previous 17 outings and, since Jan. 7, leads Cal Poly with 12.6 points per game. A starter during seven of Cal Poly's previous 11 games after scoring a career-high 19 points against Cal State Northridge (Jan. 21), Eversley's latest highlight efforts include a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double against Pacific (March 3) and an 11-point effort during Thursday's quarterfinal victory versus UC Riverside. Also a menace on the boards, Eversley's first collegiate double-double – an 11-point, 14-rebound effort against UC Riverside (Feb. 9) – included the highest single-game rebounding total by a Mustang this season. In total this year, Eversley has produced seven games of 15-plus points and six contests of nine-plus rebounds.
FERMIN FORGES THE BULLETS FOR CAL POLY TO FIRE: Arguably the Big West's most efficient point guard, senior Amaurys Fermin enters Friday's semifinal at the Big West Tournament leading all conference players in assists (118), ranked second in assists per game (3.7) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.60-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 9.8 points per contest after notching a game-high 16 during Thursday's quarterfinal victory against UC Riverside. After redshirting the 2009-10 (transfer) and 2010-11 (injury) seasons, Fermin has started all 32 games for Cal Poly this year.
ROYER'S CATCH AND RELEASE POLICY: The Big West's top three-point threat with a 46.7 (71-for-152) percent mark from the arc, junior guard Dylan Royer would rank sixth 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 against UC Davis (March 1), when he sank four three-pointers for the fourth time this season. Fifth among Mustangs with 7.7 points per contest, Royer has hit at least one three-pointer during 30 of 32 games this season and knocked down multiple three-pointers 22 times. Royer, who scored 41 combined points between his freshman and sophomore seasons, has registered 246 as a junior. He's also started during 21 of 32 games this year after making just 28 combined appearances (without a start) during his first two seasons.
MUSTANGS BOAST STIFLING DEFENSE: Cal Poly enters the Big West Tournament ranked 25th among NCAA programs in opponent points per game (60.4) as well as leading the Big West in opponent rebounds per game (29.0). The Mustangs have twice held an opponent under 40 points this year. Cal Poly's 42-36 victory at USC (Nov. 19) marked the fewest points scored by a Mustang opponent in 18 Division I seasons. More recently, Cal Poly's 67-38 triumph against Pacific (March 3) was the second-lowest opponent output in Division I history. This year, the Mustangs have held foes under 60 points during 16 of 32 games and under a 30 percent mark from three-point range a further 14 times.
MUSTANGS DOMINATE OPPONENTS ON THE GLASS: Cal Poly has grabbed the same amount of boards or outrebounded its opponent during 27 of 32 games this year, mass production that has the Mustangs ranked 29th nationally and second among Big West squads in rebounding margin (plus-5.5) entering Friday's semifinal at the Big West Tournament. Not surprisingly, Cal Poly is 16-7 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).
POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF THE WIN: Cal Poly enters Friday's semifinal at the Big West Tournament ranked 15th among NCAA programs and first among Big West squads with just 10.7 turnovers committed per game. Also 36th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.18-to-1), the Mustangs have finished with a single-digit turnover total 13 times this season.
CAL POLY'S 20-20 VISION: Through 32 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.