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Cal Poly Falls in Season Opener at Pepperdine, 77-68

MALIBU – Junior forward Josh Martin (above) produced his third career double-double with career highs for points (17) and rebounds (21) and junior forward Luke Meikle added 17 points, but the Cal Poly men's basketball team – after erasing a 15-point first-half deficit – dropped its 2016-17 regular season opener Friday evening versus Pepperdine inside Firestone Fieldhouse, 77-68.

Trailing 39-24 three minutes prior to halftime, Cal Poly held Pepperdine to just 12 points during a 12-minute span to draw level at 51-51. The Waves, however, kept Cal Poly to just two field goals during an ensuing six-minute span to outdistance the Mustangs.

Martin's 21-rebound evening was the highest total by a Mustang since forward Will Donahue grabbed 17 boards at UC Irvine on Feb. 10, 2011, highest by a Mustang under eighth-year head coach Joe Callero and four shy of the program record of 25, set by Les Rogers on March 1, 1968 versus Fresno State.

Senior guard Kyle Toth added nine points for Cal Poly while sophomore guard Jaylen Shead distributed six assists.

Friday's decision snapped a four-game winning streak by the Mustangs against Pepperdine and marked Cal Poly's first loss to the Waves since Feb. 12, 1954.

Cal Poly concludes its two-game, season-opening road trip at Arizona State on Sunday, Nov. 13. Tip time is 6 p.m. PT with action televised nationally on Pac-12 Network.

Neither side led by more than three points during Friday's opening 11 minutes before a three-pointer from Pepperdine guard Amadi Udenyi opened up a 22-16 advantage for the Waves.

Cal Poly responded with sophomore guard Victor Joseph knocking down a three-pointer to record his first points as Mustang. Pepperdine countered with a three-pointer by guard Elijah Lee to spur a 17-5 run that provided the Waves their 39-24 lead three minutes before the break.

The Mustangs, however, kept Pepperdine scoreless the remainder of the half and, through free throws by Martin and Shead, a Shead layup and a three-pointer by Meikle, clawed to a 39-31 deficit at halftime.

Cal Poly's run continued into the second half with a pair of Meikle free throws and a Martin layup trimming Pepperdine's lead to 39-35 with 17-and-a-half minutes remaining.

Held scoreless for nearly three minutes each side of halftime, Pepperdine eventually extended its lead back to nine points before Cal Poly compiled a 13-4 run to draw level at 51-51 with 11 minutes to play. The run was punctuated with a putback dunk from Martin before Joseph was fouled knocking down a three-pointer.

Pepperdine, however, received a dunk from forward Chris Reyes and successive layups by guard Lamond Murray, Jr. before Udenyi polished off a three-point play as the Waves established a 60-51 lead with seven-and-a-half to play.