Cal Poly (2-2) at Saint Mary's-CA (4-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,400) -- Moraga, California. Television: None. Home Record: Cal Poly 1-1, SMC 2-0. Away Record: Cal Poly 1-1, SMC 0-1. Neutral Record: Cal Poly 0-0, SMC 0-2. Conference Record: Cal Poly 0-0, SMC 0-0. Series Record: Tied 6-6.
GAMES NOTES: Riding the high of an upset victory, the Cal Poly Mustangs will head to McKeon Pavilion to do battle with the Saint Mary's Gaels on Saturday night.
In stunning fashion Cal Poly stormed back from a 15-point deficit on the road against a then nationally-ranked UCLA squad to secure a 70-68 win. The victory was the first on the road for the Mustangs and only the second of the season as the team is now 2-2 overall. Cal Poly will be back in its home gym next with a date against NAIA foe Menlon College.
Saint Mary's on the other hand is trying to rebound from consecutive losses during the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim, California. The most recent defeat was a 65-56 setback against Georgia Tech that dropped the Gaels to 4-2 overall after a four-game winning streak opened the season. Saint Mary's gets back on the road in its next contest to face Drake.
Last year these teams also met in December and it was Saint Mary's that earned the 59-54 win to even the all-time series at 6-6.
With 9:42 remaining in regulation Cal Poly found itself trailing 55-40 to UCLA. However the Mustangs rallied and tied the game 63-63 with 3:19 left on a 3-pointer from Dylan Royer. The teams then traded baskets to the 17-second mark with the game tied 68-68. Cal Poly got the ball and Kyle Odister was fouled and made two free throws to give the Mustangs the win. Cal Poly shot 44.4 percent in the game but heated up yo 57.7 percent during the second half comeback. Royer scored 12 of his team-high 18 points after the break .
The 70 points the Mustangs scored against UCLA represents an upwards trend, with the team scoring more points with each game. Overall, the Mustangs are only scoring 61.8 points per game while shooting just 39.9 percent from the field. On defense Cal Poly has managed to keep things close by allowing 62.5 points a contest, despite opponents shooting 46.2 percent from the field. Chris Eversley (14.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg) is normally the top scorer, although Royer (11.2 ppg) is also in double figures. Brian Bennett (9.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) doesn't get a great many plays drawn up for him but takes advantage when he does get into scoring positions, netting 62.1 percent of his field goal attempts. Odister (7.8 ppg) plays only 17.2 minutes per game, but has provided a spark off the bench.
It was a grueling contest for Saint Mary's against Georgia Tech. The Gaels had less than 10 field goals in both halves and shot just 37.0 percent overall, including a 30.8 percent effort during the final period. Saint Mary's really did itself in by turning the ball over 21 times, while forcing only 11 miscues for the Yellow Jackets. Stephen Holt was the only player to get into double figures with 10 points, while Matthew Dellavedova managed to hand out eight assists.
Dellavedova is already the all-time assists leader at Saint Mary's but has continued to be the spark-plug for the offense, dishing out 4.8 helpers a game to go along with his team-leading 17.2 ppg. Holt (12.5 pp, 5.3 rpg) also provides a great deal of scoring punch from the backcourt and is the only other player averaging in double figures. James Walker (9.8 ppg) and Brad Waldow (9.8 ppg) can each score when called on as both are shooting better than 50 percent from the field. As a team, the Gaels are connecting on 47.7 percent of their shots from the field and scoring 74.2 points per game. That has led to a +7.9 scoring differential, which falls in line with the team's positive efforts on the boards. The Gaels' rebounding differential is +3.5, despite having only two players bring in more than five boards a game.
Saint Mary's has stumbled recently, but Dellavedova and company are still a team that can string wins together. Getting back home should help the Gaels recapture the success they had at the beginning of the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's 74, Cal Poly 67
12/01 10:37:24 ET