Freshman guard Colby Rogers scored a game high 17 points Saturday evening, but the Cal Poly men’s basketball program trailed UC Riverside for the final 28 minutes and dropped a 61-49 decision to the Highlanders inside Mott Athletics Center.
Graduate guard Malek Harwell added nine points and a team leading six rebounds for Cal Poly (7-20, 4-9 Big West), which drew level with UC Riverside (15-14, 5-8) at 9-9 on a jumper from senior guard Job Alexander midway through the opening half. Cal Poly, however, was held scoreless for an ensuing six-and-a-half minute span and trailed at the break, 24-16.
Into the second half, Cal Poly shortened its deficit to 25-18 after the second of two free throws from graduate guard Jamal Smith two minutes into action. The Highlanders, however, responded with a 7-0 run and the Mustangs closed within single digits of UC Riverside’s lead just once the remainder of the evening.
Cal Poly outrebounded UC Riverside, 37-34, and grabbed 11 offensive boards. The Mustangs, however, were limited to a 28.8 (15-for-52) percent field goal mark.
With Saturday’s loss, Cal Poly slipped one game behind UC Riverside in the nine-team Big West Conference standings with three games to go. To qualify for the eight-team Big West Tournament, Cal Poly must finish ahead of the Highlanders as UC Riverside holds the tiebreaker as a result of sweeping the season series.
Cal Poly completes its 13-game home schedule inside Mott Athletics Center when hosting Big West leader UC Irvine on Thursday, Feb. 27. Tip time is 8 p.m. for the nationally televised ESPNU broadcast.
-Provided by Cal Poly