POSTGAME REACTION: JOE CALLERO
NEWARK, Del. – Cal Poly men's basketball junior forward Anthony Silvestri (right) finished with a career-high 14 points, but a late first-half run from Delaware helped the Blue Hens outdistance the Mustangs 82-72 inside the Bob Carpenter Center on Saturday afternoon.
Senior guard Kyle Odister added 12 points for Cal Poly (4-9), which traded 14 first-half leads with Delaware (8-7) before conceding a 12-4 run during the final four minutes of the first half and never recovering. In the debut meeting between the two sides and Cal Poly's first contest against a Colonial Athletic Association opponent, the Mustangs out shot (43.9 percent) Delaware (37.7) from the floor and sank 12 three-pointers, but the Blue Hens hit 32 free throws to keep the visitors at bay.
Cal Poly, playing its easternmost game since the program's initial Division I contest at Boston College on Nov. 25, 1994, opens its 18th season of Big West Conference action when hosting Hawai'i (11-3) on Thursday, Jan. 9. Tip time inside the Mott Athletics Center – where Cal Poly has won 14 straight Big West games – is set for 7 p.m.
Cal Poly received three-pointers from Silvestri, Odister and sophomore forward Joel Awich to open the game, but the Blue Hens nailed three of their opening five three-point attempts during a matchup that featured all 14 lead changes inside the opening 13 minutes.
Neither side was able to open up anything more than a three-point advantage until Delaware, with the game deadlocked at 26-26 eight minutes before halftime, posted a 9-0 run. The Mustangs, who shot 72.7 (8-for-11) percent from the floor during the opening 13 minutes, finally stemmed the Blue Hen run with a Silvestri three-pointer.
Still up 35-29, however, Delaware closed the half with its 12-4 run to go up at the break, 47-33. Both sides shot 46.4 (13-for-28) percent from the floor during the opening half, but the Blue Hens held Cal Poly to a 29.4 (5-for-17) clip during the final eight minutes.
Another Silvestri three cut Delaware's lead to 51-38 early in the second half, but the Blue Hens further complicated matters for Cal Poly with a 13-2 run that included three free throws and a three-pointer from junior guard Kyle Anderson on successive possessions.
Trailing 71-52 with six minutes to play, the Mustangs received three-pointers from Odister and senior forward Chris Eversley and a follow-up basket from Silvestri as part of a 9-0 run that cut Delaware's advantage to 10 points. The Mustangs eventually closed to within single digits at 81-72 after Odister rounded off a four-point play with 20 seconds remaining.
Eversley and sophomore forward David Nwaba both finished with eight points for Cal Poly. Eversley also grabbed a team-leading six rebounds.