GAME NOTES: The Cal Poly Mustangs attempt to register back-to-back wins as they saddle up against the Nevada Wolf Pack in non-conference play at the Lawlor Events Center on Tuesday.
Cal Poly, which has split the first six games of the 2012-13 campaign, has alternated wins and losses the entire way, with their most stunning victory coming against UCLA on the road Nov. 25 by a score of 70-68. More recently the team routed Menlo College in an 89-43 final over the weekend.
As for the Wolf Pack, they posted their first road win of the season on Saturday as they slipped by Washington in a 76-73 decision. The victory also served to snap a two-game slide for the group, which is now 1-3 on the road but an impressive 4-1 in their own building.
With respect to the all-time series between the teams, Cal Poly has won five of the previous nine meetings. In fact, the Mustangs have won the last two matchups by a combined three points, but those contests took place more than a decade ago.
The meeting with Menlo was a perfect opportunity for the Mustangs to give their overall stats a bit of a lift as they shot not only 57.4 percent from the floor, but also 10-of-17 behind the 3-point line and held the visitors to 32.0 percent from the field and forced 18 turnovers. Chris Eversley and Dylan Royer both tallied 15 points, the former adding eight rebounds and four assists, while Brian Bennett tacked on 14 points and Kyle Odister 10 off the bench. Eversley, although shooting just 21.4 percent from beyond the arc through six games, leads the group in scoring with 16.3 ppg, his 7.5 rpg also tops on the unit. Bennett is second in both of those categories with 10.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest. The team is still being beaten on the glass on the average, but the fact that they are turning the ball over less than nine times per game is certainly a positive.
Deonte Burton knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, posting seven points overall in the final three minutes against Washington, which was huge when you consider the Pack won by only three points on the road. Burton, who finished 3-of-5 from long range and 10-of-17 from the floor overall, finished with 29 points and six steals for Nevada, which worked its way back into the win column. Malik Story tacked on 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists, followed by Devonte Elliott who came off the bench to tally 11 points and five boards in 20 minutes of action. Playing just over 31 minutes per game, Burton is the top offensive threat for Nevada with his 20.0 ppg, thanks in large part to his 62-of-79 shooting at the free-throw line. Story is a solid second option for the Pack with 16.7 ppg to his credit, combining with Burton to account for 33 of the team's 55 three-point conversions through nine games.
The fact that Burton is playing so well of late and the Wolf Pack are at home for this contest is more than enough reason to think that the hosts should be pulling out the win on Tuesday.
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