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California Men’s Basketball Sneaks Past Cal Poly 67-66

Golden Bears’ close call is fifth straight triumph over the Mustangs

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day
California forward Justice Sueing led the Bears Saturday with 15 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The California Golden Bears (4-5) earned their first streak of the season with a close 67-66 win over the Cal Poly Mustangs (3-6) Saturday. The victory is the Golden Bears’ fifth straight against the Mustangs.

Oakland, Calif. native Paris Austin became a local hero after knocking down a game-winning 15-foot jumper with 3.8 seconds left. Austin scored 10 points — all in the second half — and added two rebounds and a block.

Asked about Austin’s game-winner after the match, California Head Coach Wyking Jones proudly stated: “He saw the switch. He knew that the bigger guy was guarding him and that he could get a clean look, so he took the shot.”

Forward Justice Sueing led the Golden Bears with 15 points, seven defensive rebounds and two steals. Three other Golden Bears contributed double-digits: freshman Matt Bradley earned 11, and both Austin and Darius McNeill added 10.

After a week off for final exams, California started slow. The Golden Bears led for nearly 19 minutes but entered halftime with just a 32-29 lead to show for their efforts. California missed two out of every three shots attempted and couldn’t secure many second-chance opportunities — securing only six offensive boards.

The Mustangs also knocked back four from downtown, preventing the home side from running away with the match early.

The second half appeared to be Cal Poly’s to lose. Just one minute after the break, the Mustangs earned their first-ever lead with a three-pointer from senior point guard Donovan Fields.

Fields played lights-out, notching a game-high 26 points. He finished Saturday with four rebounds, three assists and a steal.

“We knew that Donovan Fields was going to be a focal point of their offense tonight… We made him hit some tough ones,” Coach Jones said after the match. “It seems like every [attempt] was contested.”

Cal Poly didn’t relinquish its lead until Cal’s 10-0 run at the 10-minute mark in the second half. Sueing rallied his team with a layup in the paint to cut the visitor’s lead to three. A jumper from Austin and a quick layup by Bradley in the next two minutes gave the Bears the advantage.

The match was hard won for California. The Golden Bears made only two baskets in the final five minutes, as the lead switched possession six times.

Turnovers decided the game. California scored 17 points from Cal Poly’s 15 turnovers.