Cal Poly men's basketball coach Joe Callero reacts to Wednesday's loss vs. UC Irvine
UC Irvine senior Ioannis Dimakopoulos recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds in leading the Anteaters to a 70-48 victory over Cal Poly in a Big West Conference men’s basketball game Wednesday night at Mott Athletics Center.
The 7-foot-2, 255-pound center from Greece stymied an undersized Mustang defense throughout the night, helping UC Irvine win its seventh consecutive game and improve to 12-9 overall and 5-0 against Big West opponents.
“He was the difference maker,” Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero said. “He looked like a guy that’s going to get paid a lot of money.”
The Mustangs rallied to within five points with less than 13 minutes remaining, but couldn’t pull off the upset against the first-place Anteaters, who are the only remaining unbeaten team in conference play.
Cal Poly fell to 5-13 overall and 0-4 in the Big West following its ninth straight loss.
How it happened
UC Irvine entered Wednesday’s contest with the stingiest defense in the Big West, and it certainly lived up to that billing.
Cal Poly missed 15 of its first 18 shots from the field and managed to keep the score close with a relentless rebounding effort. But the Mustangs went into the break shooting 25 percent from the field (8-for-32) and 27.3 percent from behind the 3-point line.
Things didn’t get any easier in the second half, as Cal Poly went more than 5 minutes without a field goal before an Aleks Abrams layup broke the cold streak.
The 6-8, 265-pound Abrams finished one of his best all-around games of the season with seven points and a game-high 12 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end.
A boost from Niziol
Sophomore forward Jakub Niziol led the Mustangs with a career-high 11 points off the bench. The Poland native also grabbed five rebounds and made two of Cal Poly’s four 3-pointers in the setback.
Callero pointed out none of the 11 Mustangs who played tallied more than two made field goals, which he believed to be a first in his eight-year tenure.
“That’s shocking with the guys that we have,” Callero said.
Cal Poly finished the game shooting 24.1 percent from the field (14-for-58) and was outscored 34-16 in the paint. The Mustangs found some success getting to the free-throw line, where they made 16 of 23 attempts.
Cal Poly will be back in action at 7 p.m. Saturday when the Mustangs host Long Beach State inside Mott Athletics Center.
The 49ers, who play at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night, are currently 6-14 overall and 1-3 in the Big West.