November 12, 2012

Late Run Helps Host Stanford Pull Away, 81-68

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Stanford sophomore Chasson Randle finished with a game-high 24 points and the host Cardinal used a 19-6 run over a four-minute span midway through the second half Monday night to hand visiting Cal State Fullerton an, 81-68, defeat at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif.

Seniors Sammy Yeager and D.J. Seeley each finished with 16 points on the night to pace the Titans (0-1 overall), who trailed by as many as eight points in the opening half before battling back to forge a 31-31 tie at halftime and lead by as many as four points in the early part of the second half.

Yeager also added a team-high nine rebounds in the loss and was joined in double figures by Kwame Vaughn, who added a balanced 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals, and freshman Jared Brandon, who came off the bench to add 13 points – 10 of those in the second half – in 23 minutes in his Division I debut.

Stanford improved to 2-0 overall on the season as Randle got help from Dwight Powell's 14 points and 12 rebounds as well as 16 points from Aaron Bright.

"We just stopped playing together both offensively and defensively," Assistant Coach Julius Hicks said. "It started on the defensive end, we weren't helping, we weren't rotating and doing the things that got us the lead in the first half and early in the second half. Offensively, we stopped sharing the ball -- we stopped passing to each other, stopped making plays for each other.

"With us, we have a really fine line -- when we do things the right way, we are very talented, very explosive, very hard to guard.  When we don't do things the right way, our weaknesses become very glaring and guys can take advantage of us."

Three-pointers by Yeager and Alex Harris and a dunk by Deuce Johnson eventually built a four-point advantage for the Titans in the first two minutes of the second half and, after baskets by Josh Huestis and Randle brought the Cardinal level once again, a pair of free throws by Seeley and an off-balance jumper inside by Brandon put Fullerton back up by four at 43-39 at the first media timeout.

The two teams traded baskets over the next two minutes and Yeager's third, three-pointer of the night regained the lead for the Titans, but the advantage would be short-lived. Powell scored inside to tie the game and ignite a 10-0 burst for Stanford and a 19-1 run just minutes later put the game away for the Cardinal, who led by as many as 24 points with 4:49 to play.

"Teams are going to make runs, it's a long game," Hicks said. "We didn't expect to have success the entire game. They're a good team and well-coached, so they're going to go on runs. It's part of the game. Where we got in trouble was when we just didn't play together. We have a very thin margin for error.  We had a lot of room for improvement in the first half, but we were fortunate to come out of it tied."

Fullerton closed strong, however, eventually chipping away for the final 13-point deficit, closing the game with a 13-2 spurt thanks to contributions from four different players.

The Titans, who committed 25 turnovers that led to 31 Stanford points, shot 43 percent from the floor to the Cardinal's 45 percent and hit 9-of-22 from three-point range (.409) while hanging tough against the much-taller Stanford post players, trailing the Cardinal by a 37-30 count on the glass.

A quick turnaround lies ahead for Fullerton, which hits the road for three games in three days at the World Vision Classic in Reno, Nev. The Titans will take on the host Wolf Pack on Friday night (Nov. 16) at 6 p.m. before taking on Southern Utah on Saturday (Nov. 17) at 8:30 p.m., and Green Bay on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 18) at 1 p.m.