Second-Half Rally Comes Up Short for Mustangs at California

Second-Half Rally Comes Up Short for Mustangs at California

BERKELEY – Junior guard Marcellus Garrick (above) finished with a team leading 19 points on 5-for-5 three-point shooting Sunday afternoon, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program – after trailing by as much 19 points early in the second half – dropped an 85-82 decision to California inside Haas Pavilion.

Junior guard Donovan Fields added 18 points after knocking down four more three-pointers for Cal Poly (0-2), which trailed California 49-30 with 18 minutes to play before trimming the deficit to five points five times down the stretch. A three-pointer by junior forward Kuba Niziol with three seconds remaining accounted for the final scoreline for Cal Poly, which shot 51.7 (30-for-58) percent from the floor and 57.1 (16-for-28) percent from three-point range, but was outrebounded 31-18.

Junior guard Victor Joseph added 15 points for the Mustangs while Fields matched a career high with six assists.

The Mustangs return to Mott Athletics Center to open their 13-game home schedule on Wednesday, Nov. 18 versus Division II Holy Names at 7 p.m.

During Sunday's matchup – the third meeting between the two programs in the last four seasons — a dunk from sophomore forward Hank Hollingsworth cut Cal Poly's early deficit to 25-20, but the Golden Bears answered by holding the Mustangs to just one basket during an ensuing four-minute span to go up 36-22 with five minutes left in the half.

Joseph broke California's run with a three-pointer and a pair of free throws, but the 36-27 scoreline marked Cal Poly's last single-digit deficit of the opening half as the Bears took a 44-30 lead into the break.

After California stretched the lead to 49-30 to open the second half, the Mustangs compiled a 7-0 run that was highlighted by Garrick's first three-pointer of the day.

Garrick then knocked down two more three-pointers in as many minutes to shorten the gap to 53-43 with 14-and-a-half to play. His fourth and fifth three-pointers twice cut the Cal lead to nine points.

The Mustangs eventually whittled the scoreline down to 64-59 after an 8-0 run that was backboned by three-pointers from Joseph and senior forward Luke Meikle.

Cal Poly then climbed within five points of California's lead four more times down the stretch.