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Cal Poly Evens Big West Record With 68-49 Win Over UC Riverside

Cal Poly Evens Big West Record With 68-49 Win Over UC Riverside


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Junior forward Joel Awich (pictured at right) produced his first career double-double — 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds — as Cal Poly defeated UC Riverside 68-49 in a Big West Conference men's basketball game Saturday night before 2,897 in the Mott Athletics Center.

Three other Mustangs tallied in double figures — junior wing David Nwaba and sophomore guard Ridge Shipley 12 each and junior guard Reese Morgan 14 — as Cal Poly improved to 10-8 for the season and 3-3 in the Big West.

UC Riverside, led by forward Taylor Johns with 19 points and seven rebounds, fell to 9-11 and 2-4.

Cal Poly, playing its 300th Big West Conference game, is 6-0 at home against UC Riverside since Joe Callero became head coach of the Mustangs six years ago. The Highlanders are the lone Big West team to still be winless against the Mustangs in the Mott Athletics Center.

The Highlanders turned an early 9-2 deficit around with a 17-5 run, taking a 19-14 lead with 7:31 to play in the first half on a three-pointer by guard Jaylen Bland.

UC Riverside led by as many as six points before Cal Poly closed the half with a an 8-2 run, knotting the score at 24-24 at the break.

A layup by Johns opening the second half gave UC Riverside its last lead at 26-24. The game was tied twice at 35-35 and 37-37 before Cal Poly strung together 11 unanswered points for a 48-37 cushion with 5:25 to play.

Morgan hit a three-pointer and a layup during the run and Shipley added a three-pointer as well as Cal Poly began to pull away. UC Riverside never got closer than nine points the rest of the way and Cal Poly led by as many as 19 points.

Cal Poly outrebounded UC Riverside 36-34. Nwaba grabbed seven boards for the Mustangs, who turned the ball over just seven times while taking advantage of 13 Highlander miscues, scoring 20 points.

The Mustangs connected on 42 percent of their floor shots, including six of 18 from three-point range, while UC Riverside managed just 35 percent efficiency from the floor, sinking five of 19 treys.

Cal Poly's bench scored 26 points while only four points came from UC Riverside's reserves.

Morgan has scored in double figures seven times this season while Nwaba has 15. The Mustangs, now 5-1 at home this season, have held their last eight opponents under 60 points.

Cal Poly returns to the road next week for Big West games at UC Irvine on Thursday and UC Davis on Saturday. The contest with the Anteaters will be broadcast on ESPN3 while the game with the Aggies will be televised on ESPNU.