March 10, 2007
Anaheim, Calif. - Derek Stockalper scored 18 points and grabbed 9 rebounds to pace a balanced offensive attack as Cal Poly defeated Cal State Fullerton, 81-56, Friday night in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The No. 2-seed Mustangs also got double-digit scoring from Trae Clark (16), Chaz Thomas (14) and Matt Hanson (10) to win their eighth game in a row and improve to 19-10. They advance to play No. 1-seeded Long Beach State at 8 p.m. for the tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament berth.
Scott Cutley posted his conference-best 11th double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the No. 3-seeded Titans, who finish up 20-10.
Bobby Brown added 11 points to run his school career record total to 1,961, ninth best in Big West history, but he injured his right knee and ankle early in the game and madeonly 3 of 15 shots, 1 of 9 from the 3-point line.
"I want to congratulate Cal Poly," said Head Coach Bob Burton. "They played a terrific game. I knew it would be a difficult game, especially coming off the double overtime game last night. Fatigure was somewhat of a problem but the biggest problem was Cal Poly.
"It's a disappointing way for Bobby and the whole team to end up. He played 48 minutes last night and I knew he would have a tough time. He needs all his energy. That wasn't the normal Bobby Brown."
Justin Burns also completed his career with a 6-point, 10-rebound effort.
"It was emotional," said Burns. "We were playing with high energy at the start of the game. It's hard to deal with... I don't know if we have come to terms with it.
"But I feel blessed about my career at Fullerton. There's so much more to life than basketball. But it hurts."
Fullerton jumped out to leads of 4-0 and 7-3 and last led at 13-12 with 12:24 to go in the first half. Cal Poly used an 18-3 run to build a 30-16 advantage and the Titans were playing catch up the rest of the game. An 8-point halftime deficit ballooned to 19 points when the Mustangs scored the first 11 points of the second half.
Fullerton had its worst shooting night of the year at 32.3 percent including only 4 of 21 3-point shots, 0-for-9 in the second half. Fullerton scored fewer points only once with 54 at UCLA.
"I think we had a good year but it should have been better," said Burton. "It was a weird season. We never lost a really close game but we also never really came back from a large deficit to win.
"There were a lot of plusses and minuses. We had the opportunity to win 20 games and we finished in second place which is an improvement. Next year we have a chance to be good. We have to do a better job defensively."
"I think we will play good next year if we fix some things on defense," said Cutley. "Tonight, Cal Poly did a great job of capitalizing on our lapses.
"And when Bobby went out (knee injury), I think that gave them a mental edge. Their guards could take a break on defense and conserve more energy for the offensive end.
"It seemed like each time we played Cal Poly, they got better and better. Today they had the mental attitude that they were going to win."