The Cal Poly men’s basketball team was held to a season-low point total for the second time this season by UC Irvine in a 55-48 loss to the Anteaters on Saturday at the Bren Events Center.
The Mustangs’ previous season low was 50 points in a 64-50 home loss to the Anteaters (20-10, 11-3 Big West Conference) on Feb. 1.
In the first half, it looked like it might be a stretch for either team to hit 50 points as UC Irvine led 19-16 at intermission.
Cal Poly was only 4 of 23 from the field in the first half, and the Anteaters weren’t much better in front of the ESPNU national television audience, shooting 7 of 28.
UC Irvine completely turned that around in the second half, shooting a blistering 66.7 percent by making 14 of 21 field goals. However, the Anteaters couldn’t put the Mustangs (11-17, 6-9) away until the final minute.
The Mustangs grabbed a 39-38 lead with about nine minutes remaining, but UC Irvine scored the next six points for a 44-39 lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Cal Poly, which has lost eight of its past 10 games, was within three points in the final minute but the Anteaters held on to hold on to first place in the conference, one game ahead of UC Santa Barbara. The Mustangs host the Gauchos in their regular-season finale Saturday.
David Nwaba scored a career-high 20 points and pulled down a collegiate-best 13 rebounds to finish with his first Cal Poly double-double, but only three other Mustangs — Chris Eversley (10 points), Brian Bennett (eight points) and Michael Bolden (six points) — scored more than six points. And only six Mustangs scored.
Alex Young led UC Irvine with 12 points, and Mamadou Ndiaye had 10.
Cal Poly at Red Rocks Invitational
Three Mustangs are tied for 18th after the first day of the two-day tournament at Oak Creek Country Club in Sedona, Ariz.
Madison Hirsch, Taylor Yoshitake and Morgan Thomas all shot 4-over 76.
Teammate Jamie Corr is three strokes behind them in 32nd place with a score of 79.
Cal Poly’s Asia Adell is tied for 48th place with an 81.
The Mustangs go into the final day in fifth place with a team score of 307, directly behind Northern Arizona and ahead of Seattle.
Xavier is atop the leaderboard with a score of 299.