Sophomore forward Tuukka Jaakkola matched a career high with 13 points for the Cal Poly men’s basketball program Sunday evening, but the Mustangs – after taking an early lead versus No. 18 Saint Mary’s – dropped a 79-48 decision to the Gaels inside McKeon Pavilion.
Junior guard Keith Smith led all players with a career best eight rebounds for Cal Poly (1-3), which jumped out to an 8-0 lead versus Saint Mary’s (3-1) before being held to just one field goal during the final nine-and-half minutes of the first half.
With Cal Poly facing its first ranked opponent in four seasons and opening a five-game road trip, Saint Mary’s shot 53.8 (28-for-52) percent from the floor and sank 10 three-pointers.
Cal Poly’s five-game road trip continues at Creighton on Friday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. PT and at Iowa on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. PT.
Keyed by lay-ins from Jaakkola and fellow forward Alimamy Koroma and jumpers by freshman forward Kyle Colvin and graduate guard Jamal Smith, the Mustangs charged out to their 8-0 lead after just four minutes.
Saint Mary’s guard Jordan Ford eventually stemmed Cal Poly’s start with a layup as the Gaels compiled a 10-2 run to tie the match with 13 minutes remaining in the half. Ford then added a three-pointer 89 seconds later to hand the Gaels their first lead of the matchup at 13-12.
Mustang senior guard Job Alexander, however, responded with a layup and junior wing Mark Crowe sank a three-pointer to help Cal Poly claw back a 17-15 advantage with nine-and-a-half minutes remaining in the half.
Saint Mary’s though kept Cal Poly without a field goal for an ensuing five-minute span and built a 33-18 lead. The Gaels ultimately closed the first half with a 31-4 run to take a 46-21 lead into the break.
Into the second half, Cal Poly closed within 24 points of the Gael lead just once.
-Provided by Cal Poly