SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — A 17-1 run that started late in the first half and carried over into the second half sparked Cal Poly to a 74-56 victory over CSUN in a Big West Conference men’s basketball game Saturday night before 2,089 inside Mott Athletics Center.

Sophomore forward Tuukka Jaakkola scored 17 points, his second-highest point total as a Mustang, while sophomore guard Junior Ballard came off the bench to add 15 points as Cal Poly improved to 4-12 for the season and 1-1 in Big West games.

CSUN, led by Terrell Gomez with 18 points and Lamine Diane with 12 before fouling out with 9:34 to play, fell to 6-12 and 1-1.

In Wednesday’s Big West-opening loss to UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly never led and made just 13 field goals (28 percent). The Mustangs turned around their offensive production against the Matadors, making 15 buckets in the first half alone, hitting better than 50 percent of their floor shots in each half, scoring the first bucket of the game and leading by as many as 23 points in the second half.

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Cal Poly Wrestling faced Northern Illinois. Photo by Owen Main 1/11/20

Jaakkola made seven of his eight floor shots, Ballard was six of 10 en route to his 10th double-digit scoring game of the season and graduate Malek Harwell contributed 10 points by making all four of his free throws for Cal Poly.

CSUN was held to 36 percent shooting from the floor and was outrebounded 42-26 by Cal Poly. Junior guard Keith Smith and graduate guard Jamal Smith both grabbed seven boards for the Mustangs.

In registering its 300th win at the Division I level, Cal Poly outscored CSUN 10-1 over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the first half to take a 32-25 lead into the lockerroom at halftime. 

The Mustangs also scored the first seven points of the second half for a 39-25 advantage with 17:37 to play as CSUN made just one of its first nine floor shots after the break. Cal Poly opened up a 53-31 lead with 13:19 to go and was up 74-51 on Ballard’s layup with 1:18 remaining.

Cal Poly registered season highs for blocked shots (8) and rebounds (42). Freshman forward Alimamy Koroma had three of the Mustangs’ blocks, a career high. Jamal Smith contributed three assists and two steals while Keith Smith added two assists and three steals.

Cal Poly plays one Big West game next week, visiting Hawai’i on Thursday night.