Sophomore guard Junior Ballard scored 22 points and sophomore forward Tuukka Jaakkola added 16 as Cal Poly won its third straight home game Wednesday night, defeating Long Beach State 92-75 in a Big West Conference men’s basketball game inside Mott Athletics Center.
Junior wing Mark Crowe and graduate guard Jamal Smith each contributed 11 points as Coach John Smith’s Mustangs made 53 percent of their floor shots and turned the ball over just eight times, improving to 6-16 for the season and 3-5 in Big West games.
Long Beach State, now 7-17 and 2-6, was led by Chance Hunter and Michael Carter III, each with 15 points. Jordan Roberts added 11 points.
The lead changed hands nine times and the game was tied eight times in the first half. Neither team led by more than six points, the Mustangs taking a 36-34 edge into the lockerroom at halftime.
Ahead 43-39 two minutes into the second half, Cal Poly went on a 7-0 run for a 50-39 advantage, Crowe sinking a layup to give the Mustangs the 11-point lead. Another Cal Poly run, this time 11-2, turned a 59-51 Cal Poly lead into a 70-53 cushion with 9:46 to play. Ballard capped that run with a pair of free throws.
Long Beach State never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way and Cal Poly’s largest lead was 20 points at 88-68 with two minutes to go after Colby Rogers hit a three-pointer.
While Cal Poly made 34 of its 64 floor shots, including eight of 20 from three-point range, Long Beach State was held to 43 percent efficiency from the field, five of 17 from behind the arc.
Long Beach State, which turned the ball over 14 times, outrebounded Cal Poly 39-25, paced by Romelle Mansel with seven boards. Nolan Taylor grabbed five rebounds for the Mustangs.
Keith Smith’s seven assists tied his career high. Ballard has scored in double digits 15 times this season while Crowe’s 11 points are a season high.
Cal Poly earned its first win over Long Beach State in two years and on its home court for the first time since 2016.
The Mustangs put their 6-3 home record on the line Saturday night, hosting Hawai’i for another Big West game at 7 p.m.
-Provided by Cal Poly