FARGO, N.D. – Sophomore guard Junior Ballard led four Cal Poly men's basketball players in double-digit scoring figures with 20 points, but the Mustangs saw an early second-half lead overturned by North Dakota State in a 74-67 loss inside the Scheels Center Monday afternoon.
Graduate guard Jamal Smith (above) set a new collegiate scoring high with 17 points for Cal Poly (0-2), which led North Dakota State (2-1) at halftime, 33-30. The Mustangs then scored the first five points out of the break.
North Dakota State, however, closed the eight-point gap with a 12-4 run. During a matchup that featured five more tied scorelines, the Bison eventually surged ahead for good at 53-51 on a jumper from guard Tyree Eady with eight-and-a-half minutes to play.
Cal Poly shortened its deficit to two points twice more – the second instance coming at 62-60 following a Smith jumper with three minutes remaining. North Dakota State, however, knocked down 19 of 23 free throw attempts during the second half to fend off the Mustangs.
In the first all-time matchup between the two schools and the Cal Poly program's first game ever in the state of North Dakota, the Mustangs received 10 points apiece from sophomore forward Tuukka Jaakkola and freshman guard Colby Rogers.
Smith led Cal Poly with six rebounds.
Cal Poly returns to Mott Athletics Center to begin its 13-game home schedule on Friday, Nov. 15 versus NAIA Simpson at 7 p.m.