ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Senior guard Victor Joseph produced a team high 23-point effort Saturday evening, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program – after cutting Idaho's lead to six points early in the second half – sustained a 75-66 loss to close the 40th annual and final edition of the Great Alaska Shootout inside the Alaska Airlines Center as the Mustangs finished the tournament in fifth place.
Luke Meikle added 10 points and pulled down a season high 10 rebounds to record his third career double-double for Cal Poly (3-4), which trailed Idaho (3-3) 42-28 just 22 seconds in the second half before producing an 8-0 run. Playing for third place with a victory, however, the Mustangs never closed within six digits of the Vandals the remainder of the evening.
In the first meeting between the two programs since Feb. 5, 2005 and since Idaho was a fellow Big West Conference member, Cal Poly also enjoyed 10 points from junior guard Donovan Fields.
With four home games in December, Cal Poly returns to action when hosting Pepperdine on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. inside Mott Athletics Center.
During a matchup that featured four lead changes inside the opening two-and-a-half minutes, Idaho wrested early control of the game with a 6-0 run to go up 16-9. Cal Poly junior guard Marcellus Garrick ended the spurt with a layup, but Vandals guard Victor Sanders kept up the pressure with three free throws and a layup to place Idaho up 21-11 with 11-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first half.
Cal Poly trailed by as much as 11 in the first half before an 8-0 run backboned by a Joseph three-pointer and three-point play closed the Mustang gap to 23-20 seven minutes before the break. With Cal Poly still trailing 29-25 two minutes later, however, Idaho received back-to-back three-pointers from Perrion Callandret and Sanders. Sanders then converted one of Cal Poly's seven first-half turnovers into a dunk to run Idaho's lead to 37-25.
Mustang junior forward Kuba Niziol hit a three-pointer with a minute to play in the first half and Cal Poly took a 37-28 deficit into the break.
Cal Poly fell behind by the 14-point deficit to begin the second half before two Meikle baskets and one each from sophomore forward Hank Hollingsworth and Fields trimmed Idaho's lead to 42-36 with 17 minutes left.
The six-point gap was as close as Cal Poly would close, however, as Sanders sunk successive three-pointers to stretch Idaho's lead back to double digits. Joseph's fourth and final three-pointer with two-and-a-half minutes to play brought Idaho's lead to 65-58, but Callandret responded with a three of his own to keep the Mustangs at bay.