SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Seniors David Nwaba and Joel Awich combined for 36 points and 13 rebounds as Cal Poly overcame an early 9-0 deficit to beat Cal State Monterey Bay 71-62 in a non-conference men's basketball game Wednesday night in the Mott Athletics Center.
Nwaba produced 19 points and eight boards while Awich added 17 points and five boards as Coach Joe Callero's Mustangs improved to 1-2 on the year.
Cal State Monterey Bay, which jumped to the early lead on a trio of three-pointers in the first 90 seconds of play -- one by Ryan Nitz and the other two by Evan Zeller -- fell to 0-3.
Marquise Washington led the Sea Otters with 11 points while both Gregg Polosky and Alex Fertig tallied 10 points.
Cal Poly grabbed the lead for the first time at 22-21 with 5:07 to play on a jumper by Nwaba and led by as many as six points before the two teams settled on a 31-31 draw by halftime.
The Mustangs never trailed in the second half, building a 10-point lead at 44-34 as sophomore guard Taylor Sutlive capped a 10-0 Cal Poly run with a fast break layup with 15:25 to go.
Cal State Monterey Bay battled back, catching the Mustangs at 57-57 with 5:21 to play on a jumper by Washington. The Sea Otters were within one point at 63-62 with 2:35 to play on a layup by Mateo Jones before Cal Poly scored the final eight points of the game to pull away.
Junior guard Ridge Shipley hit two free throws, Awich sank a three-pointer, junior forward Zach Gordon made one free throw and Awich sealed the verdict with a dunk off an assist from Nwaba with 30 seconds to go.
Cal Poly made 44 percent of its floor shots, including five of 21 from three-point range, while holding Cal State Monterey Bay to just 36 percent efficiency (seven of 21 treys).
The Mustangs outrebounded the Sea Otters 47-41, Gordon leading the way with 10. Shipley finished with four assists while Sutlive added a pair of steals.
Freshman guard Jaylen Shead contributed 13 points, three rebounds and a pair of assists off the bench.
Cal Poly, which played Maui Jim Maui Invitational games at UNLV and UCLA last weekend, continues tournament play this weekend with a pair of contests in Greeley, Colo, facing Austin Peay on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Northern Colorado's Bank of Colorado Arena.
The Mustangs will face either Northern Colorado or UMBC (Maryland-Baltimore County) on Sunday.