GAME NOTES: The Cal Poly Mustangs finally ended a four-game losing skid with a victory Thursday night, and now they'll try for their second consecutive win Saturday as they travel to face the Long Beach State 49ers in a Big West Conference showdown at the Walter Pyramid.
Cal Poly began conference play by winning four of its first five games. Since then, the Mustangs have lost four of five and now sport a 5-5 Big West record. Cal Poly ended the losing streak with a 62-55 victory over Cal State Northridge Thursday on the road.
Long Beach State narrowly lost, 65-64, to UC Santa Barbara Thursday night at home. The 49ers have now lost two of their last three games, but in a bigger picture have won five of their last seven. The 49ers have accumulated a 6-4 conference record.
Long Beach State has a very solid hold on the all-time series lead against Cal Poly, 43-29. The 49ers defeated Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo on Jan. 18, 63-62, to extend their series lead.
Cal Poly jumped ahead of Cal State Northridge, 31-25, at the end of the first half, which was all the Mustangs would need to hang on for the win. Cal Poly held the Matadors to 36.4 percent shooting from the floor in the contest. Chris Eversley notched a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds in the win, in which the Mustangs shot just 35.2 percent from the floor. Kyle Odister came off the bench to score 14 points, connecting on 4-of-7 from 3-point range in the game.
Eversley leads the team in scoring this season with a 13.3 ppg average, shooting 40.2 percent from the floor. His 7.3 rpg average is also tops on the roster, along with his 33 steals. Dave Nwaba checks in at second on the team in scoring with 11.7 ppg, and Odister is third at 10 ppg. Jamal Johnson leads the team with 67 assists on the year.
Long Beach State erased a 13-point second-half deficit against UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night, but a Gauchos put-back at the buzzer lifted UCSB to a one-point victory in a heartbreaker for Long Beach State. Tyler Lamb netted 13 points to pace the 49ers, while Mike Caffey chipped in 11 and Branford Jones scored 10 off the bench. Long Beach State connected on 43.1 percent of its shots from the floor.
Caffey and Lamb have proven to be the two go-to players for Long Beach State this season. Caffey leads the team in scoring with 16.5 ppg on 40.9 percent shooting, while Lamb, the UCLA transfer, is behind him at 15.4 ppg. Dan Jennings tops the squad in rebounding at 8.1 rpg with a team-high 28 blocked shots. Caffey is also the team leader in assists with a 4.6 apg clip. The 49ers are scoring 68.5 ppg through 24 contests, and giving up 70.5 ppg to their opponents.
Cal Poly has really struggled lately, even though Odister has come back and played well after an injury. Long Beach State has gotten a strong contribution from Lamb, and has a well-rounded starting lineup that could easily put pressure on the Mustangs quickly.
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