POSTGAME REACTION: JOE CALLERO
HIGH FIVE W/ COACH CALLERO, PART III (video)
SEATTLE – Junior forward Chris Eversley (right) scored a game-high 23 points on Thursday night at Washington, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program yielded a 51.1 percent field goal mark to the Huskies and, trailing from the opening tip, the Mustangs fell 75-62 inside Alaska Airlines Arena.
Senior guard Dylan Royer added 10 points and junior guard Kyle Odister sank three three-pointers for Cal Poly (4-6), which shot 44.0 (22-for-50) percent from the floor, but was outrebounded, 30-17. Mustang junior guard Jamal Johnson, ranked 34th among approximately 4,485 Division I players in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.86-to-1) entering Thursday's contest, finished with a career-high seven assists.
During the first meeting between Cal Poly and Washington, the Mustangs forced the Huskies into four turnovers during the opening four minutes, but could only extract a single jumper from freshman forward Brian Bennett. At the other end of Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Washington buried five of its opening eight attempts from the floor and, capped with a three-pointer by senior guard Scott Suggs, the Huskies opened up an 11-2 lead after seven-and-a-half minutes.
Bennett, however, bookended a 14-5 Mustang run with layups as Cal Poly required just four minutes to level the scoreline at 16-16 eight minutes before the break. The Huskies eventually stemmed the Mustang tide by holding Cal Poly without a basket for the ensuing four minutes and, fueled by a layup from senior center Aziz N'Diaye and the second of junior guard C.J. Wilcox's three three-pointers, Washington reaffirmed its lead at 23-16 with four minutes remaining in the half. Cal Poly twice closed its deficit to four points down the first-half stretch, but a layup by Washington freshman guard Andrew Andrews seven seconds before the halftime buzzer afforded the Huskies a 31-23 lead at the break.
Cal Poly bridged the eight-point gap just once during the opening four minutes of the second half and Washington knocked down four of its first six shots to sprint out to a 41-29 lead. The Huskies then proceeded to hold the Mustangs scoreless for the next seven minutes and push their advantage to 49-29 at the 10-minute mark.
With the Mustangs facing their largest deficit of the night, Eversley reeled off eight successive points to help cut Cal Poly's chasm to 53-37 with eight minutes to play. The Mustangs, however, failed to draw closer than within 13 points of the Washington lead the remainder of the night. Trailing 67-48 with two minutes, 16 seconds to play, freshman guard Reese Morgan and Eversley sank three-pointers on consecutive possessions. Cal Poly reached the 13-point barrier twice more down the stretch, but Washington iced 10 successive free throws to ensure victory.
Bennett finished with eight points for Cal Poly.
Following a nine-day hiatus, Cal Poly resumes action when opening Big West Conference play at UC Riverside on Saturday, Dec. 29. Tip time at the Student Recreation Center is scheduled for 1 p.m.