IRVINE – Senior guard Donovan Fields scored a team leading 12 points and freshman forward Daxton Carr (above) produced a career high 11, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program trailed from the onset versus UC Irvine on Thursday evening and dropped a 74-47 decision to the Anteaters inside the Bren Events Center.
Sophomore forward Karlis Garoza added eight points for Cal Poly (5-19, 1-10), which forced 12 turnovers, but found itself trailing Big West Conference leader UC Irvine (23-5, 11-1), 13-0, after four-and-a-half minutes. Limited to a 29.5 (18-for-61) percent field goal mark, Cal Poly never closed its deficit to single digits.
Carr, Garoza and junior forward Hank Hollingsworth each grabbed a team leading five rebounds.
Cal Poly returns home to host Hawai'i inside Mott Athletics Center on Saturday, Feb. 23. Tip time is 7 p.m.
With Cal Poly held to a 0-for-7 shooting start and four separate Anteaters scoring inside the opening three minutes, the Mustangs found themselves trailing by the early 13-0 gap. Senior guard Marcellus Garrick eventually notched Cal Poly's opening basket after five-and-a-half minutes, but UC Irvine chalked up the next five points to run its early lead to 18-2.
Cal Poly responded with an 8-5 run capped by a four-point play from Carr to shorten the deficit to 23-10 with eight minutes remaining in the opening half. The Mustangs, however, were kept scoreless for the ensuing four minutes as UC Irvine stretched its lead as far as 32-10 before ultimately taking a 36-18 advantage into halftime.
UC Irvine then recorded the opening six points of the second half to go up 42-18 with 17 minutes to play.
Cal Poly cut its lead to 21 points just twice the remainder of the evening.