NORTHRIDGE – Sophomore guard Donovan Fields (above) finished with a career high 23 points as the Cal Poly men's basketball program never trailed in dealing CSUN an 85-71 defeat inside the Matadome on Wednesday evening.
Sophomore forward Kuba Niziol also set new career highs for points (15) and rebounds (eight) for Cal Poly (8-17, 3-8), which shot 54.5 (30-for-55) percent from the floor and led by as much as 30 points midway through the second half. Cal Poly, which outrebounded CSUN 39-33, also received 15 points from junior guard Victor Joseph and 11 apiece from senior guards Kyle Toth and Ridge Shipley.
The 23 points from Fields marked the second highest total by a Mustang this season.
With four assists Wednesday, senior guard Ridge Shipley surpassed former guard and current Cal State San Bernardino head coach Jeff Oliver for eighth place on the Cal Poly career chart. Shipley now has 263.
All three of Cal Poly's Big West victories this season have come against the top three programs in the Big West standings – UC Davis, UC Irvine and CSUN.
Cal Poly returns to Mott Athletics Center to host Hawai'i on Saturday, Feb. 18. Tip time is 7 p.m.
With five different Mustangs notching baskets inside the opening four-and-a-half minutes, Cal Poly forged an early 11-7 lead. Niziol and Toth then knocked down three-pointers on successive possessions before Joseph sank a layup in transition as the Mustangs ran their lead to 19-7 13 minutes before halftime.
CSUN eventually snapped a five-minute scoring drought with a dunk from junior guard Michael Warren, but the Matadors broke Cal Poly's double-digit lead just once the remainder of the opening half. With Cal Poly holding a 23-14 lead, Toth knocked down the second of his three first-half three-pointers to spur an 18-6 run.
The Mustangs, who eventually led at the half, 45-22, shot a season best 60.7 (17-for-28) percent from the floor during the opening 20 minutes while limiting CSUN to a 28.6 (8-for-28) percent mark.
Knocking down 10 of their first 16 shot attempts of the second half – including six from Fields – the Mustangs pushed the advantage to as much as 29 points three separate times. A follow-up dunk from freshman forward Hank Hollingsworth with 10-and-a-half minutes remaining then afforded Cal Poly its first 30-point lead at 67-37.
The Mustangs never trailed by less than 14 points the remainder of the evening.