GUILDFORD, England – Junior Nolan Taylor (above) scored a team high 15 points and fellow forward Alimamy Koroma grabbed a game best eight rebounds Tuesday evening as the Cal Poly men's basketball program opened its four-game, 2019 London Tour with an 81-69 victory against the British Basketball League's Surrey Scorchers at Surrey Sports Park.
Guards Keith Smith and Junior Ballard each added 10 points for Cal Poly, which found itself tied 35-35 at halftime before reeling off a 9-0 run to begin the third quarter. Surrey closed to within three points of Cal Poly's lead early in the fourth quarter before Mustangs added a 9-2 run to affirm their double-digit lead.
Surrey Scorchers are one of 12 franchises in the British Basketball League, the top level of competition in England and Scotland.
Cal Poly's four-game tour continues on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 8 a.m. PT (4 p.m. local) versus the U-19 Barking Abbey Basketball Academy team.
The two squads traded the lead three times inside the opening three-and-half minutes until a three-pointer from Scorchers forward and Scottish international Skyler White placed Surrey ahead for the remainder of the first quarter. Surrey led by as much as 17-11 with two-and-a-half minutes remaining before solitary free throws from Koroma and senior forward Hank Hollingsworth helped cut Cal Poly's quarter deficit to 18-14.
The Mustangs, however, opened the second quarter with back-to-back three-pointers from Smith and freshman forward Kyle Colvin to tie the matchup, 20-20, at the eight-and-a-half minute mark. Another three-pointer from junior guard Mark Crowe three minutes later then handed the Mustangs a 25-23 advantage.
Facing a 28-25 deficit with five minutes to go in the half, Cal Poly compiled a 6-0 run. Surrey, however, tallied six of the final eight points of the half as the teams took a 35-35 deadlock into the break.
The Mustangs broke from the second-half gate with their 9-0 run to take a 44-35 lead. After Surrey snapped its slide with a bucket, Cal Poly added layups from Taylor and graduate guard Malek Harwell before Crowe knocked down a three-pointer to push the Mustang advantage to 51-37 with five minutes remaining in the quarter.
Cal Poly maintained a 62-53 lead at the third-quarter break, but Surrey kept the Mustangs to just a Crowe free throw during the opening three minutes of the fourth. That was as close as the Scorchers closed, however, as the Mustangs notched the next two baskets to keep Surrey at bay.