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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 7, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mott Gym (3,032) -- San Luis Obispo, California. Television: None. Home Record: Pacific 9-2. Cal Poly 7-1. Away Record: Pacific 2-5, Cal Poly 2-10. Neutral Record: Pacific 2-1, Cal Poly 0-0. Conference Record: Pacific 7-2, Cal Poly 5-5. Series Record: Pacific leads, 33-13.
GAMES NOTES: The Cal Poly Mustangs and the Pacific Tigers will meet for the final time as Big West Conference foes when they square off at Mott Gym on Thursday night.
Pacific will be moving to the West Coast Conference next season. In its last season in the Big West the Tigers have started to heat up with wins in four straight and seven of the last eight games after a 77-64 win against UC Davis. Pacific is 13-8 overall, while sporting a solid 7-2 mark in league play which has it in second place behind Long Beach State in the conference standings. The Tigers are just 2-5 on the road where they will continue next against UC Santa Barbara.
As for Cal Poly, it has stumbled a bit of late with losses in two straight and five of its last seven contests. All five of those setbacks came on the road, including a tough 50-48 decision against Long Beach State last Saturday. The Mustangs are 9-11 overall, including an even 5-5 mark against conference foes. At home Cal Poly has been much better with seven wins in eight tries.
When these teams met at the Spanos Center earlier this season the Tigers came away with a convincing 77-55 win. It was the second in the last three meetings for Pacific which has a dominating 33-13 edge in the all-time series.
Pacific shot 48.2 percent from the floor, including a 9-of-19 effort from beyond the arc, to take down UC Davis. The Tigers also forced 18 turnovers in the game, while coughing it up only eight times themselves. Of the four players in double figures in the win, Sama Taku managed a team-high 15 points.
While their record has them in the upper echelon of teams in the Big West, the Tigers have been hanging around the middle in terms of offensive production. They rank fifth in the league in points (69 pg), fourth in assists (15.5 pg) and third in field-goal percentage (.470). On the defensive end the Tigers have been solid, allowing 64.3 points per game on 42.5 percent shooting. Having a number of players in double figures isn't a normal occurrence for Pacific which has only Lorenzo McCloud (11.6 ppg, 4.1 apg) scoring more than 10 points per game.
Despite shooting just 31.7 percent from the field against Long Beach State,. Cal Poly still had a shot against the 49ers. With the score knotted at 46-46 after a Reese Morgan bucket, the Mustangs went ice cold from the field, managing just three field goal attempts in the last 2:50.
Even though they have two players scoring in double figures on the season Cal Poly has been a much less successful offensive team in comparison to the Tigers. The Mustangs are scoring just 65.7 points per game on 41.8 percent shooting which rank ninth and 10th in the conference respectively. The Mustangs have managed to keep opponents point totals down (64.7 ppg) but a 46.7 shooting percentage by opponents has been less than ideal. Chris Eversley (15.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg) is the most prolific scoring threat on either side in this contest as well as one of the top rebounders in the conference a a whole. Brian Bennett (10.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) doesn't get tons of opportunities but makes the most of the ones he does get by connecting on 56 percent of his shots from the field.
The balance with which Pacific plays on the offensive end makes it able to adapt to different schemes. However Cal Poly's homecourt advantage and the scoring prowess of Eversley will keep the Tigers from running away with this game, if at all.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pacific 70, Cal Poly 68
02/07 10:36:58 ET
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