LOS ANGELES – Senior guard David Nwaba (top) scored a team-leading 15 points and sophomores Taylor Sutlive and Luke Meikle added 13 apiece, but USC sank 12 three-pointers Thursday evening as the Cal Poly men's basketball program fell inside the Galen Center, 101-82.
Junior forward Zach Gordon added a career high 11 points for Cal Poly (5-5), which received a layup from senior forward Brian Bennett 45 seconds into the second half to cut its deficit to five points. However, Cal Poly – which trailed wire-to-wire – was outscored by the Trojans 16-4 during the ensuing four minutes as USC finished with a 56.3 (36-for-64) percent field goal mark.
Cal Poly, which received 10 points from Bennett and a career high six assists by freshman guard Jaylen Shead, shot 43.3 (29-for-67) percent itself.
The 101 points scored by USC were the most by a Cal Poly opponent since the Mustangs dropped a 113-108 overtime decision at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Jan. 9, 2001.
Cal Poly's six-game road trip continues at aforementioned Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday, Dec. 20. Tip time is set for 12 noon PT.
Aided by a pair of layups and a three-pointer from guard Katin Reinhardt, USC opened Thursday's matchup with an 11-4 lead after just four minutes. Kept to a 2-for-8 start from the floor, Cal Poly stemmed USC's run with a Meikle three-pointer. Reinhardt, however, knocked down two more three-pointers – of the seven he hit Thursday – in a 75-second span to push the Trojan advantage to 18-9 six minutes into the matchup.
Mustang senior guard Reese Morgan then knocked down a three-pointer to cut Cal Poly's deficit to six points, but that was as close as the Mustangs came until the half's final minute. USC, which shot 48.6 (18-for-37) percent during the first half, thrice extended its lead to 15 points but, with the Trojans leading 40-25 four minutes before break, Cal Poly cobbled together a 17-7 run.
Only a last-second layup from USC guard Julian Jacobs afforded the Trojans a 49-42 lead at the break.
Bennett's layup to open the second half trimmed Cal Poly's gap to five points, but USC connected on its first four three-point attempts of the second half and, through the 16-4 run, opened up a 65-48 lead.
Cal Poly climbed within 12 points of USC just twice the remainder of the night.