DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In 2016-17, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats didn’t notch their fifth win until February 6th.
Fast forward to the 2017-18 season, and the Wildcats picked up their fifth win of the season on Tuesday, December 12th. To top it off, they managed to do it in front of their home crowd.
Behind a game-high 21 points from Malik Maitland and another double-double from Shawntrez Davis, Bethune-Cookman knocked off the Cal Poly Mustangs inside the historic Moore Gymnasium.
It was the first ever trip to the state of Florida for the Mustangs being a four-year program for 73 years.
Davis recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, notching his sixth double-double of the season. Guard Isaiah Bailey added 11 points, five assists, and three steals in the win.
Josh Martin led the way for Cal Poly, recording 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench in the loss. Guard Donovan Fields chipped in with 15 points and three steals.
Bethune-Cookman never trailed on Tuesday night. Davis opened the scoring with a three pointer in the first minute, and the home side was off and running. Martin hit a three pointer of his own with 14:29 to play in the opening half to tie the game at 12-all for a brief moment, but the Mustangs were never able to take a lead of their own.
The Wildcats took a four-point lead into the break, and came out in the second half looking to put more distance between themselves and Cal Poly.
Maitland and Bailey each put up two points in the first two minutes of the second frame, quickly expanding the lead for the Wildcats to eight in the process. With 10:36 to play, Maitland would hit one of his three trifectas to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the night, at 54-38.
Shortly thereafter, the Mustangs went on an 11-0 run to make things a little more interesting. Fields hit jumpers on both ends of the run, and when all was said and done, the Mustangs had trimmed the deficit down to just three points, at 55-52.
Cal Poly managed to hold Bethune-Cookman off the scoreboard for over four minutes, but once again, they weren’t able to take a lead of their own.
With 4:44 to play, Davis hit a pair of free throws to bring the Mustangs’ run to an end. In the process, it ignited a 12-1 run for Bethune-Cookman that sealed the deal on the victory. Davis scored seven of his 19 points during the run, and the Wildcats pulled away for the 67-53 victory.
The win brought an end to the two game losing streak for the Wildcats (5-5, 0-0), who are now tied with the North Carolina A&T Aggies for most wins among teams in the MEAC so far this season. Bethune-Cookman will open a four-game road swing on Thursday against the South Florida Bulls.
With the loss, the Mustangs (4-6, 0-0) have now lost two straight, and four of their last five. Cal Poly will look to get back on the right track on Saturday when the play host to the Princeton Tigers.
– T. Bennett