GAME NOTES: The Cal Poly Mustangs will try to halt a two-game losing streak against the surging Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal are looking to rebound from a loss against Michigan in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational on Dec. 21.
The Mustangs lost five of their first seven games of the season, but have twice put together two-game winning spurts. However, the team is in the midst of a two-game skid and will need to take on the 8-3 Cardinal where they are particularly dangerous, at Maples Pavilion.
Prior to the setback against Michigan in Brooklyn, the Cardinal defeated No. 10-ranked Connecticut in Hartford on a last-second effort. It was the first and only loss the Huskies have suffered this season. Stanford has put together three-game and four-game winning streaks thus far.
Cal Poly played Pittsburgh before the holiday break on Dec. 21, where the Mustangs fell, 73-56. Cal Poly held its own in the first half, trailing by only five points, 28-23. The Panthers out-distanced the Mustangs in the second half easily and went on to win by 17 points. Pittsburgh is a like opponent between the Cardinal and Mustangs, as Stanford lost to Pitt on Nov. 26, 88-67 at home. Senior forward Chris Eversley scored 16 points to lead Cal Poly in the contest, while Kyle Odister added 13. The Panthers (11-1) were led by Lamar Patterson, who scored a game-high 30 points, and as a team shot 59.3 percent from the field. The four-game road trip continues for the Mustangs this weekend against Stanford.
Eversley leads the team in scoring with a 13.5 points-per-game average, while David Nwaba, who scored 10 points against Pitt, is second on the team with 12.3 per game. Eversley also leads the team with a 7.7 rebounds per game average. Eversley is only shooting 29 percent on the year from 3-point range, though.
The Cardinal nearly came back from a double-digit deficit in the second half against Michigan, but ultimately fell short, 68-65, at the Barclays Center. Stanford shot 45.8 percent overall from the floor and hit 17-of-29 from the foul line. Michigan was able to double up its eight turnovers in the game with 16 team assists. Chasson Randle scored a team-high 18 points for Stanford against the Wolverines, while Stefan Nastic matched a career-high with 14.
Randle, a junior, is the team leader in scoring with an 18.5 per-game clip, followed by Anthony Brown's 14.5 points per game. At 8-3, the Cardinal are doing the best they can to hang on in a talented Pac-12 Conference, where six teams already have double-digit win totals. Three teams have eight wins, and the last-place team as non-conference action starts to draw to a close (Washington State) has a 6-5 overall record.
At home, Stanford should be able to get back on the winning track, especially against a Cal Poly team that averages 42.7 field-goal accuracy and 64.5 points per game.
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