Santa Barbara
72° F
Santa Maria
72° F
San Luis Obispo
68° F
76° F

Cal Poly Looking to Punch Ticket to NCAA Tournament

Published On: Mar 14 2014 11:57:10 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 15 2014 09:09:33 PM CDT

Cal Poly Wins Semifinals

ANAHEIM, Calif. -

Senior forward Chris Eversley and sophomore wing David Nwaba each scored a team-leading 14 points as the Cal Poly men's basketball team advanced to the Big West Conference Tournament championship game following a seven-year absence after eliminating top-seeded UC Irvine in the semifinal round on Friday evening inside the Honda Center, 61-58.

Sophomore forward Brian Bennett added 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds for Cal Poly (12-19), which will face either No. 3 Long Beach State (15-16) or No. 5 Cal State Northridge (16-17) in Saturday's ESPN2-televised, 7:30 p.m. Big West Tournament championship game. Cal Poly, which reached a third successive semifinal appearance by knocking out second-seeded UC Santa Barbara on Thursday 69-38, received nine points from senior guard Kyle Odister and shot 45.1 (23-for-51) percent from the floor and 45.5 (5-for-11) percent from three-point range.

Saturday's Big West Tournament championship game will be Cal Poly's third in 12 tournament appearances. The Mustangs lost in the 2003 and 2007 titles matchups.

In reaching Saturday's Big West Tournament title game, Cal Poly established a new set of conference distinctions, namely:
– becoming the first No. 7 seed in the 39-year history of the Big West Tournament to beat a No. 1;
– becoming the first No. 7 seed to win a semifinal game since Fresno State reached the 1991 final;
– becoming the lowest-seeded team to play for the Big West Tournament title since 10th-seeded UC Irvine lost the 1994 final to No. 1 New Mexico State and;
– becoming the lowest-seeded team in the history of the tournament to eliminate both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.

Leading Friday's semifinal matchup 61-55 following a pair of Nwaba free throws with 67 seconds to play, Cal Poly surrendered a three-pointer to sophomore guard Alex Young. UC Irvine sophomore guard Dominque Dunning then forced a steal from Mustang senior guard Jamal Johnson, but Young missed a layup that would have brought the Anteaters to within one point of the Mustang lead.

Eversley grabbed the rebound, but found himself fouled by Young. Eversley, however, missed the front end of a one-and-one with 20 seconds to play and after UC Irvine senior guard Chris McNealy missed a three-point attempt with six seconds to play, Anteaters freshman guard Luke Nelson fell short at the buzzer with his attempt.

Neither side led Friday's semifinal by more than three points until a 13-2, six-minute run by the Anteaters delivered UC Irvine a 21-13 advantage with nine minutes remaining in the opening half.

Junior wing Michael Bolden helped stem UC Irvine's run with a three-pointer. The shot helped kickstart Cal Poly's own spurt with the Mustangs compiling a 9-2 run during a five-minute span to draw to a 23-22 deficit.

After the second of Odister's three three-pointers drew the Mustangs level at 25-25 with three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first half, Cal Poly deadlocked the scoreline twice more before an Eversley jumper from the right corner placed the Mustangs up at the break, 31-29.

Despite conceding a 52.4 (11-for-21) percent field goal mark to UC Irvine in the first half, Cal Poly forced the Anteaters into eight turnovers while suffering just one.

Cal Poly continued its ascendancy into the second half, as back-to-back jumpers from sophomore forward Joel Awich helped the Mustangs score 10 of the first 12 points and push toward a 41-31 lead with 16 minutes to play.

UC Irvine countered with an 8-2 run to move to within four points of Cal Poly's lead at 43-39 with 12-and-a-half left. Once again, however, Cal Poly fended off UC Irvine as another Awich layup broke the run.

The Anteaters, who outrebounded Cal Poly, 32-26, closed to within fewer than three points of the Mustang lead just once the remainder of the night.


The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Nevada College Student Goes Missing in Santa Barbara

    A young woman visiting the Santa Barbara area from Sierra Nevada College in Nevada, has gone missing.

  • Teen With Ties To Santa Barbara Arrested In Bay Area Killings

    NewsChannel 3 has learned one of three drifters accused of gunning down two people in the Bay Area is from Santa Barbara.

  • Neil Young could face fines for playing overtime

    Rocker Plays Past Bowl Curfew

    A conditional use permit requires musicians to stop performing at the Santa Barbara Bowl by 10 p.m, but that didn't stop Neil Young on Saturday night.

  • Los Olivos Woman Killed in Murder-Suicide Mourned

    The woman killed in a murder-suicide in Los Olivos Thursday morning is being remembered as a "great" sister, daughter and devoted mother of three children.

  • New Ice Rink Opens With Fanfare

    Goleta Ice Rink Opens With Fanfare

    A long awaited ice rink opened its doors to the public on Saturday.

    Goleta's Ice in Paradise held a ribbon cutting for the soft opening of the facility at 6985 Santa Felicia Drive.

    There were plenty of smiles and cheers as people skated on the NHL-sized hockey rink for the first time.

    "I've been waiting over thirty years for this," said Tina Kerrigan of Santa Barbara.

    Jack Norqual, a long-time hockey player and retired businessman, was instrumental in turning the ice rink into a reality.

    "We did not compromise. We could have compromised and done something to a lesser degree but we felt that people waited long enough," Norqual said.

    Norqual also brought in Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider who helped finance the project.

    "This is going to be a tremendous asset to the community for all the kids that need so many things to do.  I am just thrilled we are going to be able to have it," Snider said.

    The $15 million dollar facility, which broke ground last November will provide a place for local figure skaters and hockey players to train closer to home.

    "It's so much nicer, I can't even tell you. It feels like you are playing in a college stadium. We're hoping we get some students at games and hoping for success with that now that we are 2 and 0," said Will Hahn of the Santa Barbara Royals hockey team.

    "I'll be able to skate more times a day," said figure skater Valentina Juricek of Santa Barbara.

    Former LA Kings hockey player Luc Robitaille said hockey is a fast-growing sport in sunny California.  

    "Kids love to skate. There's something about it right now. There's been tremendous growth and there's a lot of kids playing in the NHL who are from California," Robitaille said.

    Norqual said this facility has something for everyone, including adaptive athletes and people who just want to have fun.

    There will also be a place to kids to do their homework after school.

    There are still some finishing touches that need to be completed before the official grand opening in November.

  • Brush Fire Burning Along Freeway Near Los Alamos

    Firefighters found themselves battling a brush fire along the center divider of U.S. 101 about two miles south of Los Alamos.

  • Firestone Anniversary Beer

    Firestone Walker Brewery Celebrates 19 Years Launching Anniversary Beer "XIX"

    The Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles is celebrating 19th years in business.  In a tradition that started 10 years ago, the brewmasters came up with a unique blend for the limited edition anniversary beer known as "XIX".

  • Heat Causes Santa Maria High Schools To End Two Hours Early

    The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District said this is the first time in years that school was shortened because of warm weather.

  • Randy Quaid mugshot

    Vermont State Police via CNN

    Celebrity mug shots

    Actor Randy Quaid, best known for movies like "Kingpin" and "Independence Day," was arrested Friday trying to cross from Quebec into Vermont. Take a tour of our gallery of celebrity mug shots, featuring familiar faces dating back to 1938.

  • Whole Foods store sign

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Notable food recalls

    Whole Foods is recalling some of its Papillon organic Roquefort cheese after a sampling by the FDA found listeria monocytogenes in a wheel of the cheese. Here are some other notable food recalls.