LONDON – Junior forward Nolan Taylor finished 19 points and 12 rebounds, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program sustained the first loss during its four-game London Tour on Friday evening, dropping an 89-71 decision to defending British Basketball League and BBL Cup champions London Lions inside the Copper Box Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Graduate guard Malek Harwell (above) added 13 points for Cal Poly, which scored Friday's opening basket before London notched the next nine points to lead for the remainder of the evening.
Freshman guard Colby Rogers finished with nine points for the Mustangs, who began their 2019 London Tour with an 81-69 victory at BBL side Surrey Scorchers (Sept. 3) before topping Barking Abbey Basketball Academy – who compete in the second-tier National League Division 1 – 75-61 (Sept. 4).
Cal Poly closes its four-game tour on Saturday, Sept. 7 in Southampton versus National League Division 1 club Team Solent Kestrels. Tip time is 10 a.m. PT (6 p.m. local).
Owning its 9-2 lead to start, London eventually stretched its advantage to nine points three different times during the opening quarter before ending the period up 21-15. Rogers twice hit three-pointers in the first period to shorten London's lead.
London, however, opened the second quarter with a 7-0 run to stretch the gap to 28-15 with just under seven minutes remaining. The Mustangs stemmed London's surge with an 8-2 run backboned by three Taylor baskets and shortened the deficit to 30-23 four minutes before the break.
The Lions ultimately closed the half with a 16-7 run to lead, 46-30.
Two free throws from graduate guard Malek Harwell midway through the third period brought Cal Poly's deficit down to 56-45, but London took a 69-53 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lions then scored the first two baskets of the fourth to lead by as much as 73-53.