COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO – With three of its first four December games taking place in Mott Athletics Center, the Cal Poly men's basketball program renews its series versus Fresno State on Saturday, Dec. 9 (7 p.m.) before playing the program's first game in the state of Florida when visiting first-time opponent Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach on Tuesday, Dec. 12 (4 p.m. PT). Cal Poly (4-4), which snapped a two-game slide with a 91-81 home win against Pepperdine (Dec. 2), enters Saturday's matchup versus Fresno State ranked 25th among 351 NCAA Division I programs with a 41.3 (83-for-201) percent three-point mark. Cal Poly, which also hosts defending Ivy League champion Princeton (Dec. 16) and Division II Notre Dame de Namur (Dec. 30), has won seven straight non-conference home games dating to the 2015-16 season. Fresno State (6-2), meanwhile takes a five-game winning streak into Mott Athletics Center following its Wednesday 70-55 home victory against CSU Bakersfield. Bethune-Cookman (4-4) hosts Boston University Friday evening before welcoming Cal Poly.
FOLLOW CAL POLY THIS WEEK: Chris Sylvester will have the call of Saturday's matchup versus Fresno State and Tuesday's visit to Bethune-Cookman for ESPN 1280 in San Luis Obispo County and via GoPoly.com HERE … live stats and streaming video of both games will also be available via GoPoly.com HERE.
CAL POLY VERSUS FRESNO STATE: Meeting Fresno State for the seventh straight season after facing the Bulldogs just six times between the 1979-80 and 2009-10 seasons, Cal Poly trails in both the Division I (9-2) and all-time (48-19) series. The Bulldogs won the last meeting in Fresno with a 73-59 decision on Dec. 10, 2016, but Cal Poly captured the last matchup in San Luis Obispo with a 77-65 victory on Dec. 5, 2015.
CAL POLY VERSUS BETHUNE-COOKMAN, THE MEAC AND THE STATE OF FLORIDA: The Mustangs have never previously faced Bethune-Cookman. Cal Poly has only played one Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference program in school history, having defeated Morgan State 62-61 on Nov. 25, 2011 to open that season's Las Vegas Invitational inside the Orleans Arena. Tuesday's matchup also marks Cal Poly's first game in the state of Florida.
HOME IS WHERE THE (NON-CONFERENCE) WINS ARE: Under ninth-year head coach Joe Callero, Cal Poly is 24-7 (77.4 percent) inside Mott Athletic Center in non-conference home games. Cal Poly has won seven straight decisions at home against non-Big West opposition.
ARC DE TRIOMPHE: Having knocked down double-digit three-pointers in four of its first eight games – including a season high 16 at California (Nov. 12) – Cal Poly enters Saturday's matchup versus Fresno State ranked 25th among 351 NCAA Division I programs with a 41.3 (83-for-201) percent three-point mark and 37th in total three-pointers. With junior guard Donovan Fields ranked 28th among approximately 5,500 Division I players with a 50.0 (16-for-32) percent three-point mark, Cal Poly features three players shooting 38.9 percent or higher from three-point range.
THE WELL-ROUNDED DONOVAN FIELDS: The nation's leading free throw shooter at 1.000 (25-for-25) percent and Cal Poly's leading scorer with 16.6 points per game, junior guard Donovan Fields enters Saturday's matchup versus Fresno State also 28th among approximately 5,500 Division I players with a 50.0 (16-for-32) percent three-point mark. Among Big West Conference players, Fields ranks second with 5.4 assists per game, third with 1.8 steals per game, fourth in scoring and eighth with a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. Shooting 46.0 (46-for-100) percent from the floor, Fields matched a career high with 23 points at Santa Clara (Nov. 18) and has reached double-digit scoring figures in seven of eight games. Averaging 12.4 career points per game, Fields has scored in double figures 26 times in 39 (66.7 percent) Division I appearances. His 11-assist effort versus Pepperdine (Dec. 2) stands as the highest single game total in 258 games under ninth-year head coach Joe Callero.
WHEN IT COMES TO FREE THROWS, TAKE THE FIELDS: The national leader in free throw percentage among approximately 5,500 Division I players, junior guard Donovan Fields shares the top spot at 1.000 percent alongside Marquette sophomore guard Markus Howard (20-for-20), Temple junior guard Shizz Alston, Jr. (18-for-18) and Louisville freshman guard Darius Perry (18-for-18). None of those three, however, has sank as many free throws as Fields, who is 25-for-25 from the line and requires just seven more free throws without a miss to match the program record of 32 consecutive set by guard Lorenzo Keeler during the 2009-10 season. On pace to eclipse the Cal Poly single season free throw record of 90.0 (54-for-60) percent set by guard Reese Morgan in 2012-13, Fields is also the leading free throw shooter in Cal Poly program history at 89.8 (97-for-108) percent.
HOLLINGSWORTH LEADS CAL POLY ON BOTH ENDS: The Big West's leading shooter at 75.0 (18-for-24) percent and second leading shot blocker at 2.1 per game, 6-10 sophomore forward Hank Hollingsworth also ranks 10th among conference players with a team leading 6.3 rebounds per game. Having secured a second career double-double with a collegiate best 12 points and 10 rebounds versus Pepperdine (Dec. 2), Hollingsworth is a 62.3 (33-for-53) percent career shooter. In just 37 career games, Hollingsworth already ranks 10th in program history with 46 career blocks.
JOSEPH PACKS THE SCORING PUNCH: Cal Poly's co-leader alongside Donovan Fields with seven double-digit scoring efforts in eight games, senior guard Victor Joseph ranks seventh among Big West players at 14.6 points per game. Having appeared in all 39 games for Cal Poly since his transfer arrival last season, Joseph is averaging 12.5 career points per game for the Mustangs.
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 9.75 turnovers per 164 matchups (1,599 turnovers total). Cal Poly, 79th among 351 Division I programs thus far at 12.4 turnovers per game, 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 (DEC. 11-17): After visiting Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday, Dec. 12, the Mustangs return to Mott Athletics Center to host defending Ivy League champion Princeton on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. In the first meeting between the two programs last year and in just Cal Poly's second game ever versus an Ivy League opponent, the Tigers produced an 81-52 victory in New Jersey on Dec. 31, 2016.
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.