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Second-Half Rally Comes Up Short for Cal Poly at Washington State

Second-Half Rally Comes Up Short for Cal Poly at Washington State

PULLMAN, Wash. – Senior Donovan Fields scored a team leading 22 points, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program was held to a single field goal during a six-minute span early in the first half as Washington State pulled away for an 84-70 victory inside Beasley Coliseum on Monday evening.

Sophomore wing Mark Crowe (above) added a career high 11 points for Cal Poly (1-2), which saw Washington State (2-1) produce an early 17-2 run to take a 19-6 lead after just seven minutes. In the first and only meeting between the two programs since Feb. 10, 1976, Cal Poly trailed by as much as 31 points early in the second half before whittling the deficit to as few as 12 during the final two minutes.

Fields added a season high seven assists.

Senior forward Kuba Niziol – who finished with 10 points – opened Monday's matchup with a three-pointer and junior forward Hank Hollingsworth added an early free throw. Six different Cougars, however, scored during Washington State's 17-2 run to hand the hosts a double-digit lead.

The Mustangs trimmed their deficit to 21-13 with 12 minutes remaining in the first half on a Fields layup, but a basket from freshman forward Daxton Carr counted as Cal Poly's lone basket during an ensuing five-minute stretch as the Mustangs slipped to a 36-15 deficit. The Cougars ultimately took a 54-27 lead into the break.

Into the second half, five points from junior guard Job Alexander backboned a 14-4 run that brought the Mustangs to a 69-53 disadvantage with eight minutes to play.

The Mustangs were unable to bridge the 16-point gap until a Crowe dunk brought Cal Poly to an 80-67 deficit with two-and-a-half minutes to play.

Cal Poly, which shot 54.5 percent during the second half to get back into the game, outscored Washington State, 43-30, in the final 20 minutes.

Cal Poly's six-game road trip continues at the Nov. 21, 23-24 Portland Classic. The Mustangs open tournament play versus Texas State on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 4:30 p.m. Action continues versus host Portland (Friday, Nov. 23) and USC Upstate (Saturday, Nov. 24).