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Cal Poly Suffers Cold Second Half in 74-51 Loss to UC Riverside

Cal Poly Suffers Cold Second Half in 74-51 Loss to UC Riverside
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — UC Riverside outscored Cal Poly by 20 points in the second half, taking advantage of the Mustangs' 25-percent shooting from the floor, on its way to a 74-51 victory in a Big West Conference men's basketball game Wednesday night inside Mott Athletics Center.
Cal Poly made 42 percent of its floor shots in the opening half and trailed 35-32 at the break. The Mustangs tied the game at 39-39 on a layup by Mark Crowe with 17:31 to play before the visiting Highlanders went on a 26-6 run to pull away.
With the loss, Cal Poly falls to 4-13 overall and 0-4 in Big West play. With a huge 48-21 advantage on the boards, UC Riverside earned its second straight win and improved to 8-13 and 2-3. The Highlanders were 0-10 on the road prior to Wednesday's game.
Four Highlanders scored in double figures, led by Ajani Kennedy with 15 points and nine rebounds. Callum McRae added 14 points and eight boards, Dragan Elkaz 14 points and Dikymbe Martin 11 points. UC Riverside's other starter, Dominick Pickett, contributed 10 boards and five assists.
Senior point guard Donovan Fields tallied 15 points — his team-leading 13th double-digit game of the season — to lead the Mustangs, sinking six of 12 floor shots. Mark Crowe (pictured above) added 11 points and Kuba Niziol came off the bench to score 10 points.
The Mustangs turned the ball over just six times — UC Riverside committed 14 miscues — tying a season low (Holy Names) but couldn't overcome the 27-rebound differential and the Highlanders' 50-percent shooting from the floor, including 14 of 27 from three-point range.
Cal Poly, held to its second-lowest point total of the season — Texas State allowed the Mustangs just 42 points in November — did not shoot a free throw until two minutes into the second half. The two teams combined for just 13 free throw attempts in the 1-hour, 30-minute contest.
Cal Poly led by as many as seven points in the first seven minutes of the game, Niziol sinking a three-pointer for a 14-7 Mustang advantage. UC Riverside went on a 9-0 run to gain a 16-14 lead on a layup by McRae and neither team held a lead of more than five points the rest of the way to the break.
UC Riverside made five of its seven three-point attempts in the second half while taking advantage of Cal Poly's cold 2-for-15 performance from long range. The Highlanders outrebounded Cal Poly 24-10 in the first half and 24-11 in the second half.
Cal Poly hosts Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night at 7.
Photo above of Mark Crowe courtesy of Owen Main |