ANAHEIM – Senior guard Ridge Shipley (above) scored a game high 19 points and senior forward Zach Gordon grabbed 12 rebounds, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program never led during Thursday's Big West Conference Tournament quarterfinal matchup versus second-seeded UC Davis and saw the 2016-17 season come to a close with a 66-55 loss inside the Honda Center.
Gordon added nine points while Shipley knocked down five three-pointers in their final performances for Cal Poly (11-20), which kept UC Davis (20-12) to a 36.8 (21-for-57) percent field goal mark, but committed 15 turnovers while being outrebounded, 47-31. Gordon also matched a career high with five blocks while seventh-seeded Cal Poly blocked nine as a team.
With its victory UC Davis – which claimed its first Big West Tournament victory versus Cal Poly – advanced to one of Friday's two semifinal matchups against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
Despite being held to a 2-for-10 start from the floor Thursday, Cal Poly found itself trailing UC Davis just 7-4 after eight minutes.
Sophomore guard Donovan Fields eventually hit a layup to bring Cal Poly within one point of the Aggie lead, but UC Davis responded with a 7-0 run to go up 14-6 with seven-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first period.
Cal Poly closed within five points of the Aggie lead three times down the stretch with Joseph completing a three-point play with a second remaining in the half as the Mustangs trailed at the break, 26-21.
A Fields layup early in the second half allowed Cal Poly to once more close within five points of UC Davis before the Aggies cobbled together a 6-0 run to grab Thursday's first double-digit at 34-23 with 17 minutes to go.
Cal Poly, however, countered with a 11-0 run that included a Joseph layup, two Shipley three-pointers and a Meikle three – all on four successive possessions – as the Mustangs tied the matchup at 34-34 with 13-and-a-half minutes remaining.
The Mustangs deadlocked the scoreline once more a minute later but, Cal Poly was held to just one field goal during an ensuing five-minute span and slipped to a 50-41 deficit.
Cal Poly closed within four points of UC Davis three times down the stretch but, trailing 59-55 with 43 seconds to go and forced to foul to get the ball back, the Mustangs saw the Aggies knocked down six free throws late to cement the result.
In addition to Shipley and Gordon, senior guard Kyle Toth played his final game as a Mustang on Thursday.
Gordon, one of only seven players in Cal Poly's 23-year Division I history to play in multiple postseason tournaments, graduates ranked fourth in program history with 124 games played and sixth with 65 blocks.
A captain and three-year starter, Shipley will graduate ranked seventh in Cal Poly program history with 287 career assists and sixth with 121 appearances.
Toth, a two-year (2014-15, 2016-17) letterwinner with the Mustangs, will graduate as a 43.5 (84-for-193) percent career three-point shooter at Cal Poly.