If there’s some good news to be taken from the Cal Poly men’s basketball team’s loss at Hawaii on Wednesday night, perhaps it’s that the Mustangs won’t have to travel outside the state of California for the remainder of the regular season.
During the Big West Conference opener for both teams at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, the surging Rainbow Warriors outscored Cal Poly by 13 points in the second half en route to an 86-73 victory.
The loss marked the end of a six-game road trip for the Mustangs (6-8, 0-1 Big West), who have lost five of their past six contests by an average of more than 17 points per game. Senior Reese Morgan scored 17 points to lead three Cal Poly players in double figures, along with senior David Nwaba (12) and sophomore Taylor Sutlive (11).
Despite shooting over 42 percent from the field and committing only nine turnovers, a tightly officiated game seemed to swing momentum in Hawaii’s favor. The Rainbow Warriors (12-2, 1-0) shot 55 percent in the second half and made 34 free throws to put the game away.
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Junior point guard Ridge Shipley traveled with the team but did not play Wednesday night after breaking his nose in practice earlier in the week. Senior forwards Joel Awich and Brian Bennett played through injuries and combined to score nine points and grab two rebounds, part of the reason the Mustangs were outrebounded 40-28.
Cal Poly returns home next week to play UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 inside Mott Athletics Center. The Blue-Green Rivalry will be the first of eight Big West home games on the Mustangs’ schedule.
Cuesta men hold off Ventura
The Cuesta College men’s basketball team went on the road and beat Ventura on Wednesday night in the Western State Conference opener for both programs.
The Cougars raced out to a double-digit lead in the first half and held on down the stretch for a 67-65 victory. A pair of made free throws with 3 seconds remaining helped Cuesta offset Timmy Garcia’s 3-pointer that tied the score with 17 seconds remaining.
Playing in tight games is nothing new for Cuesta (14-6, 1-0 WSC). The Cougars have played eight games decided by three points or less this season, posting a 5-3 mark in those contests.
Cuesta, 8-2 over its past 10 games, returns home Saturday night to host L.A. Pierce at 7 p.m. inside Cuesta Gym.
Pirates rout visiting Cougars
The Cuesta College women’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a tough shooting performance and fell 77-44 to Ventura in the Western State Conference opener for both programs Wednesday night.
Templeton High graduate Autumn Russell continued her strong play and recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out.
Mission Prep alumnus Connor Storlie returned from a knee injury to score 10 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the free-throw line. She also grabbed six rebounds and had three steals.
Biba Kirschner, a former San Luis Obispo High standout, added nine points and six rebounds in 27 minutes before fouling out.
It was the seventh time this season the Cougars (5-12, 0-1 WSC) shot less than 30 percent from the field, finishing the game 12 of 52 for a 23.1-percent mark.
Meanwhile, conference-leading Ventura improved to 15-4 overall, having won nine of its past 10 games. The seven-time CCCAA state champions were led by Carolyn Ruffino’s 15 points, and Aubri Smith added 14 in the victory.
Cuesta will play its conference home opener at 5 p.m. Saturday against LA Pierce.