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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
UVA 27
UNC 28
 
4th
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
 
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
 
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
 
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
 
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
 
3rd
BST 16
AKR 21
 
3rd
GASTATE 17
GASO 48
 
3rd
TOL 28
UMASS 20
 
4th
WMICH 28
OHIO 7
 
3rd
COL 14
UCLA 24
 
3rd
UMO 7
KSU 3
 
2nd
WAKE 0
BC 10
 
2nd
BUF 0
CMICH 14
 
2nd
MARS 7
FATL 10
 
2nd
PITT 7
GT 28
 
2nd
SMISS 7
LATU 3
 
2nd
MSU 7
MICH 0
 
2nd
KENT 7
MSST 17
 
2nd
STAN 21
ORST 7
 
2nd
TCU 24
TTU 17
 
2nd
OKST 10
WVU 14
 
1st
WKENT 21
ODU 3
 
1st
UTST 7
UNLV 0
 
1st
MIZZ 3
VANDY 0
 
5:00pm Tonight
UCF
TEMPL
6:00pm Tonight
WASU
ARZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
1st
SJS 0
BUF 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
7:00pm Tonight
MON
NYR
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
4th
NCCU 42
SAVST 14