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.
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.