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Cal Poly Snaps Three-Game Slide With Win Over Cal State Fullerton

Cal Poly Snaps Three-Game Slide With Win Over Cal State Fullerton


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Junior wing David Nwaba scored 18 points to lead a trio of double-figure scorers as Cal Poly snapped a three-game losing streak with a 66-55 Big West Conference men's basketball victory over Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night in the Mott Athletics Center.

Junior forward Joel Awich added a career-high 17 points while junior forward Brian Bennett tallied 15 as the trio combined to make 19 of 30 floor shots (63.3 percent). The rest of the Mustangs, however, connected on just five of 26 field goals (19.2 percent).

With the win, Coach Joe Callero's Mustangs improved to 9-8 for the season and 2-3 in Big West games.

Cal State Fullerton, led by forward Steve McClellan's 12 points, fell to 8-11 and 0-4.

Cal State Fullerton's only lead of the game was at 17-16 with 6:23 to go in the first half as Kennedy Esume's jumper capped a 5-0 Titan run.

A jumper by senior wing Michael Bolden gave Cal Poly the lead for good at 18-17 with 6:05 to go and the Mustangs stretched the advantage to seven on two occasions before settling for a 26-22 lead at the break, the seventh straight game that Cal Poly has led at halftime.

After McClellan's layup opening the second half trimmed the Titan deficit to two points, Cal Poly scored the next 13 points of the game to break it open. Nwaba (pictured above) hit two jumpers and a pair of free throws to fuel the rally, finishing in double figures for the 14th time this season.

Cal State Fullerton pulled to within five points at 53-48 with 5:25 to go before the Mustangs went on a 6-0 run to seal the Titans' fate.

Though Cal Poly made 43 percent of its floor shots, the Mustangs were just two of 16 from three-point range. Cal State Fullerton connected on 39 percent of its field goal attempts, but was only 3-for-16 from long range.

The Titans outrebounded Cal Poly 39-38, led by McClellan with 12. Nwaba grabbed seven boards for the Mustangs.

Awich blocked four shots, a career high, and Nwaba contributed three steals. Cal Poly notched just five assists but turned the ball over only seven times.

Cal Poly scored more than 50 points for the first time since beating Hawai'i on Jan. 7 and made over 40 percent of its floor shots for the first time since the win over IPFW on Dec. 30. The Mustangs held their opponent under 60 points for the seventh straight game.

Cal Poly, playing back-to-back games at home for only the second time this season, hosts UC Riverside on Saturday for a 7 p.m. Big West Conference contest.