Fullerton Falls in Tourney Opener to Nevada, 80-77
RENO, NV – Deonte Burton's 3-point play with 14 seconds to play lifted Nevada to an 80-77 victory over Cal State Fullerton Friday night in the opening round of the World Vision Classic at the Lawlor Events Center.
Burton made a driving layup on the left side to tie the game at 77-77 and his subsequent free throw made it 78-77. Fullerton's D.J. Seeley attempted a driving shot for the win but it was blocked with 2.6 seconds left by Jerry Evans, Jr., and Burton, the WAC player of the year in 2011-12, added two free throws. He finished with a team-high 19 points.
The final margin equaled Nevada's biggest lead of the game.
Kevin Panzer had 18 points and Cole Huff came off the bench for 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds for Nevada.
"The game was lost in the last three or four minutes when we played good defense – forced some bad shots – but couldn't get the ball back," said Julius Hicks, acting as head coach with interim head coach Andy Newman serving the second game of a 2-game suspension for a secondary rules violation.
"We had guys just standing around, not blocking out and watching them get offensive rebounds.
"We need to sustain our effort over 40 minutes to win a Div. I game. We had too many peaks and valleys."
Nevada only won the rebound battle, 34-32, but had 15 offensive rebounds including 10 in the second half.
Fullerton led 72-67 at 4:53 after an Alex Harris three-pointer. Nevada scored the next six points to lead, 73-72, but Fullerton came back and led, 76-75, after another Harris trey at 2:10.
Fullerton jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never relinquished it in the first half. The biggest margin was 12 points at 24-12 with about 11 minutes remaining. Nevada had a 7-0 run and eventually got within a single point but the Titans pulled away to lead at intermission, 37-32.
The Titans scored the first five points of the second half as well but their 10-point lead didn't last too long. The Wolf Pack took its first lead at 48-47 at the 14:33 mark and the teams traded the lead several times down the stretch.
Fullerton plays again Saturday night at about 8:30 p.m. against Southern Utah. Nevada plays at 6 p.m. vs. Green Bay.