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Cal Poly (11-19) vs. UC Irvine (23-10)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, March 14, 9:30 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Honda Center (17,608) -- Anaheim, California. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Cal Poly 6-6, UCI 12-4. Away Record: Cal Poly 3-12, UCI 10-6. Neutral Record: Cal Poly 2-1, UCI 1-0. Conference Record: Cal Poly 6-10, UCI 13-3. Series Record: UC Irvine leads, 24-20.

GAME NOTES: The Cal Poly Mustangs continue their drive to perhaps their first Big West Conference Tournament title, as they clash with the UC Irvine Anteaters in the semifinals of the 39th annual event at the Honda Center tonight.

Cal Poly, which is the seventh seed in this year's tourney, scored a major upset on Thursday as it defeated second-seeded UC Santa Barbara. But it wasn't just a lucky day for the Mustangs, they completely dominated the Gauchos in a 69-38 final. The Mustangs had lost both regular-season battles with UCSB, including a 71-55 final just five days ago at home.

Meanwhile, the top-seeded Anteaters are aiming to get back to the championship round for the second time in as many years, after losing to Pacific in 2013 by a score of 64-55. Now 24-31 in this event over the years, UCI had virtually no trouble taking case of UC Riverside on Thursday, 63-43, in order to advance.

UCI won both regular-season meetings with the Mustangs, although the latest battle less than two weeks ago at the Bren Events Center was decided by only seven points (55-48). As a result, the Anteaters now lead the all-time series by a 24-20 margin.

The winner of this meeting heads to the title game on Saturday night to face either Cal State Northridge or Long Beach State for the right to take part in the NCAA Tournament.

Cal Poly's effort against UCSB was historic for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that it was the finest defensive effort for the Mustangs in just over two years. The 38 points allowed also represented the toughest defensive stance in this tournament since 2001 when Utah State scored a 50-38 win against Pacific.

Offensively, the Mustangs were paced by Ridge Shipley who scored a career-high 15 points in 21 minutes off the bench, converting all eight of his free-throw attempts. Joel Awich was a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor as he accounted for 11 points, matching the scoring of Kyle Odister who knocked down 3-of-5 shots behind the 3-point line.

UCSB turned the ball over 13 times, shot only 32.7 percent from the floor and was outscored by Cal Poly at the free-throw line, 17-0.

Just like the Mustangs, UCI dialed up the defensive pressure on Thursday, holding UC Riverside to a mere 29.4 percent shooting from the floor, including 3-of-12 behind the 3-point line. The Highlanders didn't have a single starter score in double figures as the quintet combined to shoot only 9-of-39 from the field. Over on the other side, Will Davis II accounted for a game-high 16 points and Luke Nelson dropped in 14 for the Anteaters as they got away with only 4-of-12 shooting beyond the arc.

The defensive effort by UCI wasn't out of the ordinary last night, but the same cannot be said for the performance turned in by Cal Poly, a program which is just 5-13 away from home this season. As great as it was to see the Mustangs dominate in all facets of the game, it is unlikely that it will carry over to tonight's contest.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Irvine 67, Cal Poly 61

03/14 10:39:45 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
Final
WAS 3
PHI 5
Final
TOR 6
ATL 5
Final
DET 3
CWS 12
Final
MIN 2
CLE 4
Final
STL 5
CIN 2
Final
CHC 7
SDP 6
Final
BOS 1
BAL 4
Final
PIT 6
MIL 2
Final
HOU 4
ANA 0
Final
NYM 5
MIA 4
Final
TAM 0
NYY 9
Final
KAN 0
OAK 5
Final
SFG 4
ARI 1
Final
LOS 6
COL 3
Final
SEA 3
TEX 1
1:07pm Today
TOR
ATL
 
1:08pm Today
DET
CWS
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
MIA
 
1:10pm Today
TAM
NYY
 
1:35pm Today
BOS
BAL
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
WAS
PHI
 
2:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
ANA
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
OAK
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
SDP
 
4:05pm Today
SFG
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
LOS
COL
 
4:10pm Today
SEA
TEX
 
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
Final
TOR 86
WAS 93
Final
GSW 106
NOP 99
Final
CHI 103
MIL 91
Final
HOU 118
DAL 108
3:00pm Today
CLE
BOS
 
5:30pm Tonight
ATL
BRK
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
POR
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
SAN
 
Final
TAM 5
DET 1
Final
STL 4
MIN 1
Final
NYR 3
PIT 4
Final
ANA 2
WIN 1
12:00pm Today
NYI
WAS
 
3:00pm Today
CHI
NAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
MON
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
VAN
 
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR