Mar 19, 2014 9:52 PM by Bill Halter
The Cal Poly basketball team will have a chance to knock off the country's only remaining unbeaten. The Mustangs advanced to a match up with top seeded Wichita State in the Round of 64 by beating Texas Southern, 81-69 in the NCAA Tournament's First Four in Dayton, Ohio.
Cal Poly shot 57 percent from the field in its first ever NCAA Tournament game. The Mustangs only turned the ball over one time in the first half and took a 44-32 lead to the locker room. Cal Poly got the lead as high as 16 (48-32) with 18:01 to play in the second half. The Tigers pulled to within 7 (73-66) with 2:16 to go but the Mustangs closed it out with free throws for the 12 point win.
The 81 points scored was Cal Poly's second highest out-put of the season, beaten only by the 85 points scored against Division-2 level Cal State Dominguez Hills on December 14. Cal Poly is now 14-19 on the season while Texas Southern finishes, 19-15.
Senior forward Chris Eversley led the Mustangs with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Eversley was 6-9 from the field and 6-6 from the free throw line. Sophomore forward David Nwaba added 17 points on 7-11 shooting. Sophomore post, Brian Bennett scored 10 points on 5-5 shooting off the bench.
In all, ten players scored for Cal Poly. Sophomore guard Reese Morgan added a surprising 9 points off the bench. Morgan made 3-4 shots from three point range in 10 minutes of action. He had 13 points in 40 minutes total all season after missing most of the year while recovering from knee surgery.
6'10" senior center Aaric Murray scored 38 points to lead Texas Southern but the Mustangs survived by not letting anyone else hurt them.
Cal Poly won the rebounding battle, 28-27 while committing 10 turnovers compared to 13 for Texas Southern. Both teams made 17-22 free throws.
16 seed Cal Poly will fly to St. Louis, Missouri on Wednesday night where the Mustangs will play the Midwestern Region's top seed, Wichita State (34-0) on Friday at 4:10pm. It will be a match up of the team with the most wins in the nation versus the team with the most losses in the NCAA Tournament. The Mustangs are just the third team ever to win an NCAA Tournament game with a losing record. A 16 seed has never beaten a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
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