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Cal Poly Men’s Basketball Closes 2014 with 71-57 Triumph at IPFW

Cal Poly Men’s Basketball Closes 2014 with 71-57 Triumph at IPFW

POSTGAME REACTION: JOE CALLERO

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Senior wing Michael Bolden (right) sank five three-pointers to finish with a career-high 20 points on Tuesday evening as the Cal Poly men's basketball program capped the 2014 calendar year and Big West Conference preparations with a 71-57 victory versus IPFW inside the Gates Sports Center.

Junior wing David Nwaba added 13 points to chalk up his team-leading 11th double-digit scoring game for Cal Poly (7-5), which shot 45.0 (27-for-60) percent from the floor and outrebounded IPFW (6-6), 38-29. Playing game No. 6 of a seven-game road trip – the program's lengthiest road trip in 35 years – Cal Poly also kept the Mastodons to a 17.6 (3-for-17) percent mark from three-point range.

With Tuesday's win, Cal Poly improved to 4-2 on its road trip and has won five of its last seven contests.

In the first meeting between the two programs and Cal Poly's first game in Indiana in 15 years, the Mustangs received a further 11 points from junior guard Ridge Shipley and 10 from junior forward Brian Bennett. Junior forward Joel Awich also matched a career high with nine rebounds.

Cal Poly opens its 19th season of Big West Conference action when visiting Hawai'i on Wednesday, Jan. 7. Tip time inside the Stan Sheriff Center is 9 p.m. PT.

Fueled by three-pointers from junior guard Reese Morgan and Shipley, Cal Poly held IPFW to a 1-for-10 shooting start and scoreless for an early five-and-a-half minute span to take a 13-4 lead eight minutes into action.

Through three-pointers from senior guard Joe Edwards and sophomore guard Mo Evans, the Mastodons quickly countered to close their deficit to 13-10 with 10 minutes remaining in the half. However, Cal Poly – which held IPFW to a 32.0 (8-for-25) percent field goal mark in the first half – hit back with a 15-4 run capped by a four-point play from Bolden to increase the lead to 29-14 with five-and-a-half minutes left before the break.

Having maintained a 12-point cushion heading into intermission, Cal Poly – highlighted by Bolden's fourth three-pointer of the evening – sank five of the second half's opening seven field goals to further the advantage to 47-29.

Cal Poly, which shot 60.9 (14-for-23) percent during the second half, maintained a minimum 11-point cushion the remainder of the night.

Trailing 59-38 with eight-and-a-half minutes to play, IPFW cobbled together a 10-0 run in three minutes to close its gap to 11 points. Nwaba and Bennett, however, nailed jumpers on successive possessions to preserve Cal Poly's double-digit lead down the stretch.

Image courtesy of Alexander Bohlen