Cal Poly (8-10) at UC Riverside (6-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 25, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SRC Arena (3,168) -- Riverside, California. Television: None. Home Record: Cal Poly 5-2, UC Riverside 4-5. Away Record: Cal Poly 2-7, UC Riverside 2-8. Neutral Record: Cal Poly 1-1, UC Riverside 0-0. Conference Record: Cal Poly 4-1, UC Riverside 1-4. Series Record: Cal Poly leads, 45-43.
GAME NOTES: The UC Riverside Highlanders will try and fix a two-game losing streak as they host the Cal Poly Mustangs in Big West Conference action at SRC Arena.
Cal Poly has won four of its last five games, including a 58-56 squeaker against Cal State Fullerton Thursday on the road. The Mustangs are 4-1 in conference play this season - a half-game behind UC Irvine for the Big West lead.
It's been a rough stretch for the Highlanders, who have lost five of their last six games and seven of their last nine, including the last two in a row. The Highlanders almost got in the win column Thursday with a 68-65 overtime loss to UC Santa Barbara.
Cal Poly holds a slim all-time series lead over UC Riverside, 45-43. The two programs will play again at Cal Poly on Feb. 22.
Cal Poly led from the opening basket to the final buzzer against Cal State Fullerton, cementing the team's best start in the Big West Conference in program history at 4-1. Jamal Johnson led the charge for the Mustangs with 12 points, and Brian Bennett scored 10 for Cal Poly in the win. The Mustangs shot 48.9 percent from the floor, including 58.3 percent from 3-point range. Michael Williams scored a game-high 20 points for Cal State Fullerton.
Chris Eversley, who had seven points in the win over Fullerton, still leads the Mustangs this season in scoring, averaging 13.6 ppg on 41.1 percent shooting from the floor. Dave Nwaba, who also added seven points in the last win, is second in scoring with 11.7 ppg. He and Eversley are the only two Cal Poly players to average double-digit scoring totals. Eversley tops the team in rebounding with 6.9 rpg, and Johnson leads with 58 total assists on the year.
UC Riverside, despite the loss, made it a contest even though the team was down by 17 points to UC Santa Barbara in the second half. Chris Patton led all scorers in the game with 23 points for the Highlanders, while Sam Finley contributed 20. Taylor Johns narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds in the loss. The Highlanders shot 45.1 percent from the field in the game.
Patton took over the scoring lead on UC Riverside from Johns, averaging 13.2 ppg after his 23-point outburst. Patton is connecting on 50.9 percent of his shots this season, although he has played in two fewer games than the rest of the squad. Johns checks in at 12.5 ppg and a team-best 8.3 rpg and 38 blocked shots. Finley is the third double-digit scorer on the Highlanders with 11.3 ppg.
UC Riverside played well to keep pace with Santa Barbara, forcing overtime. However, the Highlanders can't keep putting themselves in a hole from which they must constantly dig out. Cal Poly should be able to handle Riverside defensively, and should shut the Highlanders down early.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal Poly 68, UC Riverside 61
01/25 10:29:31 ET