COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Cal Poly men's basketball program begins a three-game home stand – and closes its 13-game home schedule inside Mott Athletics Center – when hosting UC Davis on Thursday, Feb. 15 and UC Irvine on Saturday, Feb. 17. Tip time both evenings is 7 p.m. for Cal Poly (8-17, 3-8), which enters the week ranked 25th among 351 NCAA Division I programs with a 76.7 percent free throw mark and 49th at just 11.6 turnovers per game. Sitting seventh in the Big West standings with five games remaining before the March 8-10 conference tournament, Cal Poly trails sixth-place Hawai'i (13-10, 4-6) by just one-and-a-half games. UC Davis (16-9, 7-4), in a three-way tie for third place in the Big West standings alongside Cal State Fullerton (14-9, 7-4) and Long Beach State (13-14, 7-4), has dropped its last two games. UC Irvine (13-14, 8-3), meanwhile, has won five straight games to move into second place and just a half-game behind leader UC Santa Barbara (19-5, 8-2).
THIS WEEK'S PROMOTIONS: Thursday's matchup with UC Davis is Cal Poly's annual Blackout game with the first 500 fans into Mott Athletics Center receiving commemorative black t-shirts. Saturday's meeting against UC Irvine is Mustang Kids Club Night with all current club members receiving free admission and a complimentary gift upon entrance.
FOLLOW CAL POLY THIS WEEK: Chris Sylvester will have the play-by-play call of Thursday's game versus UC Davis and Saturday's matchup with UC Irvine for ESPN 1280 in San Luis Obispo County and via GoPoly.com HERE … live stats and streaming video will also be available via GoPoly.com HERE.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC DAVIS: The Aggies, who eliminated Cal Poly from the opening round of last year's Big West Tournament en route to making their first NCAA Division I Tournament, won the opening game of this year's season series in Davis, 80-56 (Jan. 27). Cal Poly, which has won six of its last eight home games versus UC Davis – including a 74-70 decision last season – leads the all-time (35-22) series with the Aggies, but trails in Division I (15-14) matchups.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC IRVINE: The Anteaters edged Cal Poly 80-73 in this year's series opener in Irvine (Jan. 18) and the Mustangs seek to snap a four-year home slide versus UC Irvine. The Mustangs have defeated UC Irvine just once in the past eight meetings and the Anteaters lead both the all-time (31-22) and Division I (28-19) series.
MUSTANGS ON THE LINE: With junior guard Donovan Fields ranked fourth among approximately 5,500 NCAA Division I players with a Big West Conference best 92.9 (65-for-70) percent free throw mark and senior guard Victor Joseph 51st nationally and second among conference players at 86.7 (65-for-75) percent, Cal Poly leads the Big West and ranks 25th nationally with a 76.7 (280-for-365) percent team mark. Collectively, the Mustangs have shot better than 80.0 percent from the free throw line 10 times this year. Both Fields and Joseph are in line to break the Cal Poly single season free throw record of 90.0 (54-for-60) percent, set by guard Reese Morgan in 2012-13. Fields, who started the year 28-for-28 from the free throw line, is the leading free throw shooter in Cal Poly program history at 89.5 (137-for-153) percent while Joseph ranks seventh all-time at 83.9 (141-for-168) percent.
MUSTANGS ON THE LINE, CHAPTER 2: With the Mustangs enjoying their highest free throw shooting season under ninth-year head coach Joe Callero, prowess from the line has been integral to Cal Poly's success this season. Cal Poly's eight wins have all come when the Mustangs have shot for a higher free throw percentage. Conversely, the Mustangs are 0-8 when the opponent shots for a higher percentage.
THE WELL-ROUNDED DONOVAN FIELDS: Ranked fourth among approximately 5,500 NCAA Division I players with a 92.9 (65-for-70) percent free throw mark and co-leading Cal Poly at 13.6 points per game, junior guard Donovan Fields also enters Thursday's matchup versus UC Davis ranked third among Big West Conference players with 4.2 assists per game, seventh with 1.3 steals per game and 11th in scoring. Fields has twice matched a career high with 23 points at Santa Clara (Nov. 18) and versus Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 6) and reached double-digit scoring figures in 17 of 25 games. Averaging 12.3 career points per game, Fields has scored in double figures 36 times in 56 (64.3 percent) Division I appearances. His 11-assist effort versus Pepperdine (Dec. 2) stands as the highest single game total in 272 games under ninth-year head coach Joe Callero.
JOSEPH PACKS THE SCORING PUNCH: Cal Poly's leader with 20 double-digit scoring efforts in 25 games – including a career high 33-point effort versus Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 6), the program's highest total in eight seasons – senior guard Victor Joseph ranks 11th among Big West players at 13.6 points per game. Joseph, whose seven three-pointers versus Cal State Fullerton were one shy of matching the Cal Poly program record, also ranks 51st among NCAA Division I players with an 86.7 (65-for-75) percent free throw mark. Having scored in double figures 35 times in 56 career games (62.5 percent), Joseph is Cal Poly's active leader with a career scoring average of 12.7 points per game.
CATEGORY TWO: With a team leading four doubles-doubles this season, junior forward Josh Martin has emerged as Cal Poly's leading rebounder at 5.8 boards per game and fourth leading scorer with 8.1 points per evening. Martin, who most recently scored a career high 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds at UC Irvine (Jan. 18) before going for 13 and 11 at CSUN (Jan. 20), has produced a program leading seven career double-doubles. The 24-point performance is the second highest total by a Mustang this season.
HOLLINGSWORTH HELPS CAL POLY ON BOTH ENDS: Ranked 54th among NCAA Division I players with 1.92 blocks per game and Cal Poly's leading shooter at 64.5 (40-for-62) percent, 6-10 sophomore forward Hank Hollingsworth established a new program single game record with seven blocks versus Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 6). Hollingsworth secured a second career double-double with a collegiate best 12 points and 10 rebounds versus Pepperdine (Dec. 2). Hollingsworth is a 60.4 (55-for-91) percent career shooter. Having blocked multiple shots in 14 of 25 games this year, Hollingsworth – in just 54 career games – ranks fourth in program history with 77 career blocks.
CAL POLY'S QUALITY CONTROL: No Division I program has committed fewer turnovers per game since the beginning of the 2012-13 season than Cal Poly, which has averaged just 9.88 turnovers per 181 matchups (1,788 turnovers total). Cal Poly, 49th among 351 Division I programs thus far at 11.6 turnovers per game, has finished with a single-digit turnover figure eight times this season with a low of just four versus Notre Dame de Namur (Dec. 30), five against UC Riverside (Jan. 31) and six versus UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 4). Cal Poly has led the Big West in fewest turnovers per game in each of the last five years.
MUSTANGS FACE ANOTHER TESTING SCHEDULE THIS SEASON: Once again contesting one of the Big West Conference's more demanding schedules, Cal Poly will play nine games this season against opponents that qualified for the NCAA Tournament and NIT last year.
LOOKING AHEAD (FEB. 19-25): Cal Poly closes its 13-game home schedule inside Mott Athletics Center with a Thursday, Feb. 22 matchup versus CSUN. The Matadors won the opening game in this year's series, 72-54 (Jan. 20). Cal Poly has won seven of its last eight home matchups versus CSUN – the program's best mark inside Mott Athletics Center against any Big West foe under ninth-year head coach Joe Callero. CSUN is the second most frequent opponent in Cal Poly's history (after UC Santa Barbara) with Thursday's meeting marking the 102nd all-time matchup.
ETC: During a 73-68 win versus the College of Charleston (Nov. 22) – the first game in program history against the Cougars – Cal Poly set a new program record with a 100 (11-for-11) percent mark from the free throw line … Cal Poly's Dec. 19 visit to SMU marked the first time in NCAA Division I history that two schools which feature Mustangs as a mascot played … Cal Poly improved to 38-1 against non-Division I opposition with a 73-40 home victory versus Notre Dame de Namur on Dec. 30 (Cal Poly became a Division I program to begin the 1994-95 season) … an 80-79 victory against UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 4) handed Cal Poly its fifth victory to open Big West play in the last seven seasons … Cal Poly's 19 three-pointers versus Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 21) were two shy of the program record while the nine blocks versus the Titans were one shy of matching the program record … Cal Poly's 68.8 (11-for-16) percent three-point mark versus Hawai'i (Feb. 3) marked the program's highest mark since shooting a program record 80.0 (12-for-15) percent at CSUN (Feb. 28, 2013) … Cal Poly's 8-for-8 three-point shooting start versus Hawai'i (Feb. 3) was also the program's best opening from the three-point line since matching an all-time NCAA record with an 11-for-11 start versus CSUN (Jan. 21, 2012).