GAME NOTES: A pair of Big West Conference foes will meet up at The Pavilion on Thursday night, as the UC Davis Aggies play host to the Cal Poly Mustangs.
Cal Poly had lost six of its previous seven bouts prior to its most recent contest last Saturday when it got back on the winning track with a 69-64 home triumph over UC Riverside. The Mustangs have still underwhelmed this season both overall (10-16) and in the league play (6-7), and they have played especially poorly on the road (3-10).
UCD's campaign has been a struggle from the very start, as it is just 8-19 and 3-9 in conference action. The Aggies are currently sliding with four straight losses, most recently flying out to Honolulu last Saturday to fall on the wrong end of an 86-77 decision at Hawaii.
The Aggies won the first meeting between the teams this season, 62-58 back on Jan. 30, although the Mustangs have still won six of the past eight matchups and hold a 33-15 lead in the all-time series.
The Mustangs trailed their most recent game by three with under 13 minutes to play but promptly took control with a 12-2 run and held on down the stretch for the four-point victory. Although they shot a lowly 35.4 percent from the field on the evening, much worse than UCR's 45.8 percent, they outscored it from 3-point range (24-12) and the free-throw line (27-16). Chris Eversley made all but one of his 10 tries from the charity stripe on his way to 22 points, while Michael Bolden and Dave Nwaba both netted 13 points.
Points have come at a premium for Cal Poly this season, as it shoots a lowly 41.2 percent from the field for 63.7 ppg, which all but negates is excellent play on the defensive end of the court (.432, 64.0 ppg). Eversley owns lackluster percentages from the field (.399), 3-point range (.313) and the foul line (.697) but still leads the team with 13.7 ppg and 7.4 rpg. Nwaba is the only other player to score in double figures on a nightly basis with 11.6 ppg on 53 percent from the floor.
The Aggies' exhausting trip to Hawaii did not end well, as they were outshot from the field, 57.1 percent to 44.2 percent, and lost the rebounding battle, 34-28, en route to the nine-point setback. Corey Hawkins overcame the struggles of most of his teammates by shooting 8-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, on his way to 29 points. Clint Bozner made the most of his 22 minutes off the bench by pouring in 16 points.
On the season, UCD has solid offensive attack, as it shoots 44.3 percent from the field for 71.3 ppg, but its downfall has come on the opposite end of the floor where it boasts one of the nation's worst defenses, yielding 78.4 ppg on 48.8 percent shooting. It is also regularly outmanned on the boards with a -7.0 rebound margin. Hawkins is the Big West's second-best scorer with 18.9 ppg and is also a sound perimeter defender with 1.5 spg. Ryan Sypkens brings 11.6 ppg to the table thanks largely to his prowess from long range (83- of-201, .413).
Cal Poly will likely be able to score more than it's used to against a porous UCD defense, but even against the struggling Aggies, it is difficult to trust the Mustangs heading out on the road.
Game Date and Time