After undergoing arguably the toughest three-game road stretch in school history, the Cal Poly men’s basketball team didn’t need long to show off what it had learned in close losses to UCLA, San Diego State and Cal.
David Hanson scored a career-high 28 points, Shawn Lewis shot 15 of 19 from the free-throw line, and the Mustangs rebounded with a 70-64 road win over Pepperdine on Tuesday.
“We learned a lot from those teams,” Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero said. “Playing that caliber of team gets you ready to play a Pepperdine.”
Hanson hit 6 of 10 from 3-point range a game after hitting just 1 of 10 in Berkeley.
“That could be the difference right there, that’s 15 points,” Callero said of the Mustangs’ 10-point loss to the Golden Bears. “(Hanson) got his legs under him tonight, and that was a big part of our success.”
The Mustangs ran out to an early 12-0 lead before the game leveled out.
“A lot of players are thinking about where they’re going for Christmas, and not about playing a game on December 21,” Callero said.
“We talked about catching a team that was kind of sleep walking a little bit.”
The Mustangs shot a season-high 45.8 percent from the floor, as Hanson and Will Donahue combined to hit 15 of 30 shots. Donahue barely missed a double-double, scoring 10 and grabbing nine rebounds.
Lewis shot 10 of his 19 free throws in the final 1:12 of the game, a strategy that Callero said the team planned for.
“It’s a lot (of shots), but it’s not fatiguing,” Callero said. “Shawn is a senior and he’s earned those stripes to be the one in that position.”
The win was Cal Poly’s last before beginning conference play on Dec. 30 with a home game against Long Beach State.
“We’re excited to get back to our home court,” Callero said.