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Cal Poly men's basketball opens 2017-18 at Stanford, California - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Cal Poly men's basketball opens 2017-18 at Stanford, California on Pac-12 Networks

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The Cal Poly men's basketball program opens the 2017-18 regular season and its 24th year of Division I action when visiting Stanford on Friday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. and California on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. Both games will be televised nationally on Pac-12 Networks for Cal Poly, which returns three starters and eight letterwinners from a 2016-17 squad that ranked 20th among NCAA Division I programs with just 10.7 turnovers per game. Seeking its first victory in a season opener in six years, Cal Poly (11-20) is visiting Stanford (14-17) for the first time since the program's 2013-14 Big West Conference Tournament championship season and heading to California (21-13) for the third time in four years.

CAL POLY VERSUS STANFORD: The Mustangs and Cardinal have met just four times as Division I opponents with Cal Poly falling inside Maples Pavilion 79-62 in the last matchup between the two sides on Dec. 29, 2013. Stanford owns a 7-1 all-time series advantage with Cal Poly's only triumph a 79-61 win on Nov. 27, 1976. All eight matchups between Cal Poly and Stanford have occurred on the peninsula.

CAL POLY VERSUS CALIFORNIA: Mustang junior forward Aleks Abrams grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds at California in the last matchup between the two sides on Dec. 17, 2016, but Cal Poly fell inside Haas Pavilion, 81-55. Cal Poly's only victory against California in five previous all-time matchups was a 63-62 decision on Nov. 12, 2003. The Golden Bears prevailed in two previous matchups on Nov. 26, 2014 (72-52) and Dec. 18, 2010 (51-41) and during the first meeting between the two programs on Dec. 29, 1996 (77-59).

CAL POLY IN SEASON OPENERS: Cal Poly is 2-6 in season opening matchups under ninth-year head coach Joe Callero and has not won a season opener since defeating San Jose State (79-52) at home in 2011. Cal Poly fell in last year's opener at Pepperdine (77-68), dropped its 2015 opener at UNLV (74-72), the 2014 opener at Nevada (65-49), the 2013 opener at No. 5 Arizona (73-62) and its 2012 opener at TCU (53-46). Cal Poly's other opening-day win under Callero was a 76-60 decision at Seattle in 2010. Overall, Cal Poly is 9-14 in season opening games at the Division I level, but just 2-12 in season opening games on tCal Poly Opens 2017-18 at Stanford, California on Pac-12 Networkshe road.

CAL POLY CLIFFSNOTES, A PERSONNEL PROFILE: The Mustangs, who have committed fewer turnovers per game during the last five years than any Division I program (9.62), return three starters and eight letterwinners from last year's squad … comprising Cal Poly's returning starters are 6-0 senior guard Victor Joseph, 6-9 senior forward Luke Meikle and 5-10 junior guard Donovan Fields. Joseph, who started 14 of 31 games last winter, finished as Cal Poly's leading scorer with 12.0 points per game. Cal Poly's leading returning rebounder at 4.4 boards per game last season is Meikle, who also added 8.4 points per outing and started 27 times. Fields, a starter in 17 games last year, averaged 11.3 points per matchup, led Cal Poly with 19 double-digit scoring games and finished second among Big West Conference players with an 86.7 (72-for-83) percent free throw mark … having redshirted last year after sustaining a season-ending injury five games into the 2016-17 season, 6-7 forward Josh Martin returns as a junior. Martin was averaging 10.8 points per game at the time of his injury and – behind a career high 21-rebound performance at Pepperdine (Nov. 11) – was leading Cal Poly with 8.4 boards per contest … joining Martin among Cal Poly's frontcourt returners are 6-8 junior forward Aleks Abrams, 6-7 junior forward Kuba Niziol and 6-10 sophomore forward Hank Hollingsworth. Abrams, keyed by a career high 16-rebound performance at California (Dec. 17), finished with 4.2 rebounds per game last year. Niziol, who made 22 appearances during his first year as a Mustang in 2016-17, averaged 4.0 points game. Hollingsworth, who started during eight of his 29 appearances, shot 51.7 percent from the floor last winter … Cal Poly's remaining returning letterwinner is 6-3 junior guard Trevor John, who made a career high 14 appearances last year … making his debut in Cal Poly's lineup will be freshman wing Mark Crowe, who redshirted during his first season on campus last year … during the offseason, Cal Poly added three transfers to its roster in 6-4 junior wing Paulo Cruz (Arizona) and 6-4 junior guards Marcellus Garrick (Hancock College) and Eric Toles (Sierra College) … signed to National Letters of Intent last fall and in the lineup are 6-9 freshman forward Karlis Garoza (Saldus, Latvia) and 6-0 freshman point guard Iziah James(Chesapeake, Va.). Rounding off Cal Poly's roster and signed in the spring is 5-10 freshman guard Jared Rice (Modesto, Calif.).

CAL POLY'S QUALITY CONTROL: No Division I program has committed fewer turnovers per game since the beginning of the 2012-13 season than Cal Poly, which has averaged just 9.62 turnovers per 156 matchups (1,500 turnovers total). Cal Poly, which finished 20th among Division I programs last season with 10.7 turnovers per game, has led the Big West in fewest turnovers per game in each of the last five years.

MUSTANGS FACE ANOTHER TESTING SCHEDULE THIS YEAR: Once again contesting one of the Big West Conference's more demanding schedules, Cal Poly will play nine games this season against opponents that qualified for the NCAA Tournament and NIT last year.

LOOKING AHEAD (NOV. 13-19): Cal Poly opens its 13-game home schedule inside Mott Athletics Center against Division II Holy Names on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Since transitioning to the Division I level prior to the 1994-95 season, Cal Poly is 36-1 against non-Division I programs and 11-1 in similar games under ninth-year head coach Joe Callero. The Mustangs then return to the Bay Area to face Santa Clara on Saturday, Nov. 18. Cal Poly has won the last two matchups versus the Broncos, topping Santa Clara at home on Dec. 7, 2013 (64-53) and inside the Leavey Center on Dec. 23, 2014 (69-58).

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