With starting center Will Donahue sidelined with an unspecified NCAA clearance issue, Cal Poly men’s basketball forward Will Taylor stepped in to record a double- double against Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday, but the Mustangs could not overcome their shooting woes in their last tune-up before the start of Big West Conference play.
Cal Poly shot 36 percent from the floor and sank just two of 12 3-pointers. It did not help that the Roadrunners got to the free-throw line 33 more times in their 70-63 win over the Mustangs.
Stephon Carter led Cal State Bakersfield (2-10) with 22 points. Lorenzo Keeler countered with 17 for Cal Poly (3-8), which got 10 points and 12 rebounds from Taylor in just his second career start. With 11 points, Jordan Lewis was the only other Mustangs player in double figures.
Cal Poly trailed by seven points at the half after shooting just 26 percent from the floor and 0 for 11 from 3-point range.
Despite that fact, the Mustangs were still in the game down by four in the final 43 seconds. The Roadrunners were just 3 for 12 on their own 3-pointers.
Bakersfield made a difference at the free-throw line, sinking 33 of 43 free throws. Cal Poly shot 90 percent at the free-throw line but had just 10 attempts.
The Roadrunners stretched their biggest lead to 11 with 10:38 left in the game on a pair of free throws by Carter. Cal Poly cut that lead to 58-55 with a layup by Shawn Lewis a little more than seven minutes later but could not get any closer.
Donahue, the Mustangs’ leading rebounder and second-leading scorer as a sophomore, had started every game this season for Cal Poly since transferring from Phoenix College.
There was no official word whether the 6-foot-8 center would be cleared for the Mustangs’ Big West opener at UC Irvine on Monday.