Junior guard Donovan Fields matched a career high with 23 points – including eight of the Cal Poly men’s basketball program’s final 10 on Saturday evening – as the Mustangs earned their first road victory of the season with a 63-59 triumph at Santa Clara.
Junior guard Marcellus Garrick added 12 points for Cal Poly (2-2), which committed 15 turnovers versus Santa Clara (1-2), but none during the final 11-and-a-half minutes. The Mustangs, who trailed by six points early in the second half, executed a 23-8 run to lead 50-41 with eight-and-a-half minutes to play.
Santa Clara rallied to tie the matchup on three separate occasions down the stretch, but with the game locked at 59-59 and 18 seconds remaining, Fields knocked down a jumper that rested on the front iron momentarily before falling in. Broncos guard Matt Hauser missed his layup attempt on the ensuing possession and Garrick punctuated Cal Poly’s win with a dunk with a second left on the Leavey Center clock.
The Mustangs, who shot 50.0 (8-for-16) percent from three-point range, also received 10 points from senior guard Victor Joseph.
Cal Poly continues its four-game road trip at the 40th annual and final edition of the Great Alaska Shootout, scheduled for Nov. 22-25 and hosted by Alaska-Anchorage. Cal Poly opens tournament play on Wednesday, Nov. 22 versus first-time opponent College of Charleston at 1 p.m. PT (12 noon AKST).
Kept to an 0-for-5 start from the floor and subsequently trailing 6-0 after the opening five minutes, Cal Poly nonetheless broke the drought with an 8-0 run keyed by a Fields three-pointer. Four of Cal Poly’s opening six fields goals came from three-point range, but forced into eight turnovers to begin the matchup, the Mustangs found themselves trailing 25-19 three minutes before the break.
The Mustangs, however, rallied with three successive baskets to tie the matchup. Only a late layup from Broncos guard Josip Vrankic separated the sides at 27-25 entering halftime.
Santa Clara slid into a 33-27 lead to begin the second half but, with Joseph scoring Cal Poly’s first 10 points, the Mustangs clawed back to tie the matchup at 34-34 with 15 minutes to play.
Tied once more at 40-40, Cal Poly received a pair of free throws and a three-pointer from junior forward Kuba Niziol. Fields then followed with his third three-pointer of the night before knocking two free throws to run Cal Poly’s lead to 50-41.