November 25, 2014
Pomona, CA -- Using a decisive first-half run, NCAA Division II No. 16 Cal Poly Pomona raced to an early lead and went on to beat The Master's College 72-58 Tuesday evening.
The victory snapped the Mustangs' two-game winning streak and evened their record at 2-2.
Early on, the Mustangs stayed with the nationally-ranked Broncos, scoring the first points of the game on a Chris Patureau (Houston, TX) jumper 53 seconds into play and pulling to within 8-7 when Korey Anderson (Clovis, CA) converted a layup with 14:44 left in the first half.
However, less than 30 seconds later, things started to turn away from the Mustangs as a Bronco basket sparked a game-changing 18-0 run over the next six-plus minutes that put the hosts up by 19 points (26-7) with 8:01 remaining in the stanza.
The Mustangs never fully recovered from the blitz but they never gave in to the Broncos, either. In fact, they answered the Bronco burst with one of their own, reeling off 11 unanswered points, starting with a Russell Byrd (Santa Clarita, CA) free throw that ended a seven-minute scoring drought. It continued with a Byrd layup, consecutive three-pointers from Byrd and Reid Shackelford (Murrieta, CA), and was finished off by a Tikko Moore (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands) layup that pulled the Mustangs within 26-18 with five minutes left.
That seemed to wake up the Broncos who built the lead back to 14 points before a Travis Divita (Canyon Country, CA) trifecta sliced the deficit to 36-25 at halftime. Over the opening 20 minutes, the Mustangs shot 37% from the field while the Broncos countered with 47% accuracy.
Those percentages suffered sharp declines on both sides in the closing half, keeping the Mustangs from making any headway on the deficit except with 17:59 left to play when an Anderson layup made it a 36-27 game.
However, the Mustangs made it tough on themselves again, scoring only four points in a 4:42 window while the Broncos extended their advantage to 45-31 at the 13:17 mark. An Anderson free throw temporarily stopped a Bronco burst that eventually reached 17-5 for a 53-32 lead almost three minutes later.
That run still didn't discourage the Mustangs who played competitive ball the rest of the way, using a 10-2 skein in a 2:16 span to get within 60-47 with 6:11 left to play. Patureau triggered the burst with a three-pointer, Divita contributed another trey, and Byrd and Anderson combined for four straight free throws.
What turned out to be a final rush just wasn't good enough, though, as the Broncos built the lead back to 19 points twice in the final minute before settling for the victory.
The Mustangs, who shot just 28% (7-25) in the second half wound up at 33% (17-52) for the game while the Broncos finished at 42% (25-60).
For the third time in four outings, Byrd led the Mustangs in scoring, tossing in 19 points while handing out a game-high five assists and collecting a team-high seven rebounds. Divita was a spark off the bench, throwing in a season-high 11 points while Shackelford contributed 10 more.
Now, the Mustangs have a week off in preparation for the start of GSAC play that begins next Tuesday (December 2) when they travel to Irvine to square off with an always-tough Concordia squad.