POSTGAME REACTION: JOE CALLERO | REESE MORGAN | DYLAN ROYER
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Senior guard Dylan Royer (pictured at right) led a group of six Mustangs scoring nine or more points, tallying 17 with five three-pointers as Cal Poly defeated two-time defending Big West Conference men's basketball regular-season champion Long Beach State 79-73 Thursday night in Mott Gym.
Redshirt freshman guard Reese Morgan added a career-high 16 points, junior guard Kyle Odister 12 and freshman forward Brian Bennett 11 as the Mustangs beat the 49ers for the first time in seven games and improved to 6-6 overall and 2-0 in Big West games.
Long Beach State (5-8, 1-1 Big West) was paced by senior guard James Ennis with 22 points, sinking six of 11 floor shots and 10 of 11 free throws. Junior guard Keala King added 16 points off the bench and sophomore guard Mike Caffey contributed 13 points.
Long Beach State led by as many as seven points in the first 18 minutes of the game before Cal Poly gained the lead for the first time, the only lead change of the first half, at 29-27 on a layup by senior guard Chris O'Brien with two minutes to go, capping a 13-4 Cal Poly run. The Mustangs led 34-32 at the break.
The lead changed six times and the score was tied three times in the second half. Cal Poly grabbed the lead for good at 51-50 with 11:28 to go on a layup by senior guard Drake U'u.
The Mustangs went on an 8-0 run to build a 72-62 lead with 2:09 to play. Eversley capped the run with a layup off an offensive rebound. Cal Poly led by 10 points on two other occasions before the 49ers mounted a rally, closing the gap to three points at 76-73 on a layup by Caffey with 48 seconds left.
Long Beach State, however, turned the ball over once and missed one shot the rest of the way as Cal Poly tallied the final three points on a free throw by Eversley and two charity shots by Royer.
Odister, starting for the first time in three years, made four of seven shots from three-point range. Junior guard Jamal Johnson scored nine points and established a new career high in assists with eight. Morgan made nine of 10 free throws, the most charity shots made by a Mustang this season.
Cal Poly last beat Long Beach State 90-79 at Long Beach on Jan. 16, 2010. The win Thursday was the first by the Mustangs over the 49ers at home since a 68-62 triumph on Jan. 5, 2008.
Both teams made 43 percent of their floor shots -- Cal Poly 26 of 60 and Long Beach State 24 of 55. The Mustangs connected on 10 of 21 three-pointers while the 49ers made seven of 20 from long range.
Cal Poly outrebounded Long Beach State 38-34, led by Eversley with eight to go with his five assists. King grabbed 10 boards for the 49ers.
Averaging just 9.3 turnovers in its first 11 games this season, third in NCAA Division I, Cal Poly committed 12 turnovers Thursday, one less than the 49ers.
The Mustangs and Hawai'i, a 90-88 winner over Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night, are the only two unbeaten teams in the Big West with 2-0 conference marks.
Cal Poly, armed with a two-game winning streak for the first time this season, hosts UC Irvine on Saturday night at 7, seeking its first 3-0 start in Big West play since the Mustangs' first season in the conference (1996-97).
Cal Poly Defeats Long Beach State 79-73, Moves to 2-0 in Big West Games
|Long Beach State (5-8, 1-1 BWC)||32||41||73|
|Cal Poly (6-6, 2-0 BWC)||34||45||79|