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January 20, 2012

Mustang Men's Basketball Faces Cal State Northridge in PRIME Time Matchup

COMPLETE GAME PREVIEW (pdf)

LATEST VIDEO: COACH CALLERO INTERVIEWS WILL TAYLOR

LATEST PHOTO GALLERY

Up Next:
Saturday, Jan. 21 (5:05 p.m.)
Mott Gym (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
Television: Fox PRIME Ticket / Ron Pitts (play-by-play), Michael Cage (color commentary)
Audio: HERE (Worldwide), ESPN 1280 (San Luis Obispo County) / Tom Barket (play-by-play)
Live Stats: HERE
All-Time Series Record: Cal Poly, 45-41
Winning Streak: Cal Poly, 1
Last Meeting: Feb. 16, 2011 (CP, 72-49, @CP)
2010-11 Season Series: 1-1

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Prior to embarking on a four-game road trip, the Cal Poly men's basketball program completes a two-game home stand and looks to curtail a two-game slide when hosting Cal State Northridge inside Mott Gym on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 5:05 p.m. Cal Poly's second televised matchup of the month, Saturday's showdown will be carried live on Fox Sports PRIME Ticket in southern California. Despite featuring four Mustangs in double-digit scoring figures, Cal Poly (11-8, 2-4) fell to 5-4 in Mott Gym this season with a 78-69 loss against Big West Conference-leading Long Beach State (Jan. 19). Cal State Northridge – last among Big West programs in field goal (36.9) and three-point (29.0) percentage – enters Saturday's matchup having dropped three of its last four games, including a 69-61 decision at UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 19).

FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS SATURDAY: Tom Barket returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail of Saturday's matchup against Cal State Northridge for GoPoly.com HERE and in San Luis Obispo County on ESPN 1280. Live stats for the game will be available HERE. Ron Pitts will handle play-by-play detail and Michael Cage color commentary for Fox PRIME Ticket.

CAL POLY VERSUS CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: Despite splitting the last two regular season series against Cal State Northridge, the Mustangs have won both home matchups against the Matadors, including last season's crushing 72-49 triumph on Feb. 16, 2011. Overall, Cal Poly enjoys a 45-41 series advantage against the Matadors since the first matchup between the two programs on Feb. 5, 1960.

DEFENSE REMAINS AT THE FOREFRONT: A year after developing a national reputation for defensive stinginess, the Mustangs remain atop the Big West and NCAA defensive charts. Cal Poly enters Saturday's matchup versus Cal State Northridge ranked 12th among NCAA programs in opponent points per game (57.1), as well as leading the Big West in opponent rebounds per game (28.6) and ranking second in opponent three-point percentage (32.6). Highlighted by limiting USC to 36 points on Nov. 19 – the fewest points scored by a Cal Poly opponent in 18 years at the Division I level – the Mustangs have held foes under 60 points during 11 of 19 games this year. The Mustangs have also held opponents under 30 percent from three-point range a further eight times during the 2011-12 season.

CAL POLY TOUGH ON THE BOARDS: Cal Poly has grabbed the same amount of boards or outrebounded its opponent during 17 of 19 games this year, mass production that has the Mustangs ranked 17th nationally in rebounding margin (plus-7.4) entering Saturday's matchup versus Cal State Northridge. Not surprisingly, Cal Poly is 10-5 when outrebounding the opposition with the only defeats coming at DePaul (Dec. 21), versus UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 2), versus Big West-leading Long Beach State (Jan. 5, Jan. 19) and at UC Riverside (Jan. 14).

POSSESSION IS NINE-TENTHS OF THE WIN: Cal poly enters Saturday's matchup versus Cal State Northridge ranked 10th among NCAA programs with just 10.7 turnovers committed per game. Also 50th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.14-to-1), the Mustangs have finished with a single-digit turnover total during eight of their last 13 games.

MUSTANGS ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES: Cal Poly has compiled a 5-2 record this year following a loss and just twice this season have the Mustangs suffered consecutive losses. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Cal Poly has posted a 12-9 mark following a defeat.

TAYLOR CONTINUES TO RISE TO THE OCCASION: With four double-doubles tucked into his back pocket this season – including a 17-point, 11-rebound effort against UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 2) – senior forward Will Taylor enters Saturday's matchup versus Cal State Northridge leading all Big West players with a 53.9 (82-for-152) percent field goal mark while ranking third with 7.7 rebounds per game. A starter during all 19 of Cal Poly's contests after redshirting last season, Taylor has grabbed seven-plus rebounds in a game 11 times this year, recorded double-digit scoring figures nine times and shot higher than 60 percent from the floor on seven occasions.

FERMIN FORGES THE BULLETS FOR CAL POLY TO FIRE: The Big West's most efficient point guard, senior Amaurys Fermin enters Saturday's matchup versus Cal State Northridge leading all conference players in assists (74), assists per game (3.89) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.76-to-1). Fermin, who matched a career high with eight assists at DePaul (Dec. 21), also ranks second among Mustangs with 13 double-digit scoring games and 10.6 points per contest. After redshirting the 2009-10 (transfer) and 2010-11 (injury) seasons, Fermin has started all 19 games for Cal Poly this year.

HANSON'S HIGHLIGHT EFFORTS: A 16-point, 12-rebound performance during Cal Poly's Jan. 12 victory at UC Irvine marked David Hanson's third double-double during Cal Poly's last eight games. The program's leader with 14 double-digit scoring games after notching just four total points during Cal Poly's opening two contests, Hanson enters Saturday's matchup versus Cal State Northridge leading all Mustangs with 11.2 points per contest and ranked 13th among Big West rebounders with 5.4 boards per game.

ROYER KEEPS THE HOT HAND: The Big West's top three-point threat with a 51.9 (40-for-77) percent mark from the arc, junior guard Dylan Royer would lead all 4,225 Division I players had he met the NCAA statistical minimum of 2.5 made three-pointers per game. The only central coast native on Cal Poly's roster, Royer has twice knocked down a career-high five three-pointers this season: versus Mississippi Valley State (5-for-7, Nov. 26) and Sacramento State (5-for-5, Nov. 30). Fourth among Mustangs with 7.3 points per contest, Royer has hit at least one three-pointer in 19 of his last 20 games and knocked down multiple three-pointers on 12 occasions this season. Royer, who scored 41 combined points between his freshman and sophomore seasons, has already registered 139 as a junior. He's also started during 10 of 19 games this year after making just 28 combined appearances during his first two seasons.

EVERSLEY GAINING MOMENTUM: Sophomore forward Chris Eversley had recorded just 52 points during his initial 15 contests as a Mustang, but the Chicago native and 2010 transfer from Rice has posted a team-leading 12.5 points per Cal Poly's last four games. With four-successive double-digit scoring efforts entering Saturday's matchup at Cal State Northridge, Eversley's highlight night came during a 73-67 victory against Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 7) where he scored a career-high 18 points and pulled down a collegiate-best nine rebounds.

WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE: Cal Poly's 14 home games this season are the most contests inside Mott Gym since the program hosted 16 opponents during the 1999-00 campaign. Under Joe Callero, Cal Poly has posted an 18-14 overall mark in Mott Gym, a 10-9 record against Big West opposition and, this season alone, allowed just 60.4 points per game.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Mustangs match their lengthiest road swing of the 2011-12 season with a four-game trip that opens on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Pacific. The northern California tour continues on Jan. 28 at cellar-dwelling UC Davis before the Mustangs visit Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 2) and, in a non-conference matchup, Cal State Bakersfield (Feb. 4).