Senior guard Donovan Fields scored a game high 20 points and junior guard Victor Joseph added 19 for the Cal Poly men’s basketball program, but a three-pointer from Central Michigan guard Shawn Roundtree with 3.8 seconds to play Friday evening sent the Mustangs to a 56-53 loss in the Great Alaska Shootout semifinal round inside the Alaska Airlines Center.
Fields also added a career high nine rebounds for Cal Poly (3-3), which trailed Central Michigan (4-1) 53-50 with 32 seconds to play after Roundtree knocked down a pair of free throws. It was Joseph though who tied the matchup at 53-53 with his fourth three-pointer of the evening with 22 seconds remaining.
Held to a 22.2 (4-for-18) percent three-point mark during the game, Central Michigan nonetheless found the game-winning basket from beyond the arc as Roundtree handed his side the decisive edge.
On the final play, Fields – who also led Cal Poly with four assists – saw his three-point attempt fall short.
With Friday’s loss, Cal Poly was relegated to Saturday’s third-place game at 6:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. AKST) versus either CSU Bakersfield or Idaho.
This year’s Great Alaska Shootout marks the 40th and final edition of the tournament.
In the first all-time meeting between the two programs, Cal Poly outrebounded Central Michigan, 41-31.
Fields scored Cal Poly’s first seven points of the evening, but Central Michigan countered by keeping the Mustangs scoreless for a three-minute span as the Chippewas took their only lead of the half at 8-7. Cal Poly responded with a 7-0 run kickstarted by a three-pointer by junior forward Kuba Niziol as the Mustangs reclaimed a 14-8 lead eight minutes before the break.
Central Michigan eventually tied the matchup at 14-14, but a 9-0 run by Cal Poly – aided by seven Joseph points – helped the Mustangs lead by as much as 23-14 before taking a 23-20 advantage into halftime.
A Joseph three-pointer and Fields layup allowed Cal Poly to stretch its lead to 28-22 early in the second half. Central Michigan, however, closed within a point of Cal Poly at 33-32 before finally overtaking the Mustangs at 39-38 on a layup by forward Luke Meyer with nine-and-a-half minutes to play.
The lead then switched sides four more times during the next four minutes before Chippewas forward Kevin McKay hit back-to-back layups to place Central Michigan up 45-42 with four minutes, 49 seconds left.
Cal Poly led just once more at 48-47 with two-and-a-half minutes to play.