LONG BEACH – Senior forward Luke Meikle scored a team leading 15 points Saturday evening and freshman guard Iziah James (above) added a career high 11, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program – after shaving Long Beach State's lead down to two points twice early in the second half – couldn't bridge the deficit and fell inside the Walter Pyramid, 73-54.
Junior forward Aleks Abrams grabbed a team leading seven rebounds while freshman wing Mark Crowe equaled him with a career high seven boards for Cal Poly (8-17, 3-8), which trailed Long Beach State (13-14, 7-4) 30-28 with 15-and-a-half minutes to play. The 49ers, however, limited Cal Poly to a solitary field goal during the next three minutes, stretched their lead to 11 points in the process and Cal Poly failed to close within eight points of Long Beach State the remainder of the evening.
Meikle also chipped in six rebounds for Cal Poly, which kept Long Beach State to a 21.1 (4-for-19) percent three-point mark.
Cal Poly opens a three-game home stand – and closes its 13-game home schedule inside Mott Athletics Center – when hosting UC Davis (Thursday, Feb. 15) and UC Irvine (Saturday, Feb. 17). Tip time both evenings is 7 p.m.
During Saturday's matchup, Meikle notched seven points inside the opening eight minutes, but the Mustangs still trailed Long Beach State, 17-11. Cal Poly, however, kept Long Beach State without a field goal for an ensuing five-and-a-half minute span and tied the matchup at 17-17.
The Mustangs themselves were limited to just two field goals during the final six minutes of the opening half, but Meikle's three-pointer 33 seconds before the buzzer provided Cal Poly a 26-22 deficit at the break.
Twice Cal Poly trimmed its deficit to two points early in the second half but, with the Mustangs trailing 30-28, Long Beach State produced a 7-0 run for a nine-point cushion with 14 minutes to play.
Long Beach State senior forward Gabe Levin then knocked down a three-pointer and hit two free throws during the next 85 seconds to provide the 49ers the game's first double-digit lead at 41-30.
Cal Poly broke the double-digit barrier eight times during the next six minutes, but never closed within eight points the rest of the night.