December 13, 2012

Big Bursts Lift Titans as Fullerton Rebounds

FULLERTON, Calif. -- After trailing by as many as seven points and going just 1-of-12 from the field to start the game, host Cal State Fullerton exploded for a 21-7 run over the final nine-and-a-half minutes of the first half and added a 17-2 burst out of the gate to start the second period, lifting the Titans to a 66-53 win over visiting Idaho State on Thursday night in front of 1,028 fans at Titan Gym.

Senior Kwame Vaughn shared game-high honors with 17 points to go with six rebounds and four assists as Fullerton (4-5 overall) snapped a three-game losing streak by shooting 62 percent in the second half to build on a seven-point advantage at the break.

The Bengals fell to 1-7 overall with the loss, falling to 0-6 on the road this year.

Senior Sammy Yeager added 14 points, senior D.J. Seeley contributed 11 points, and sophomore Alex Harris came off the bench to score 11 points and grab six rebounds.

Tomas Sanchez scored 17 points to lead three Idaho State players in double figures, but the Bengals shot just 38 percent from the floor -- including a 35 percent clip in the second half.

Two free throws by Seeley were all the Titans could muster through the first six-plus minutes of the first half until Vaughn slashed to the basket to give Fullerton its first field goal at the 13:52 mark. A basket by Sanchez and a three-point play by Andre Hatchett sandwiched a jumper by James Douglas to Idaho State its largest lead of the contest at 13-6 midway though the half.

That, however, would be the end of Fullerton's offensive doldrums as freshman Jared Brandon and Seeley hit back-to-back three-pointers to jumpstart the Titans' rally and a basket by Yeager at the 6:01 mark gave Cal State Fullerton the lead for good at 16-15. Seeley and Yeager finished with seven points apiece during the team's 21-7 run to close the period as the Titans led, 27-20, at the break.

Fullerton picked up right where it left off to start the second half after the Begnals' Jakub Kusmieruk scored inside to start the period, as a pair from the line by Yeager started a string of 17-straight points for the Titans, who held Idaho State to 0-for-7 from the floor and forced six turnovers over a seven-minute span to put the game away.

The lead grew to as many as 23 points with 6:35 to play for Fullerton as the Bengals got no closer than the final 13-point margin.

The Titans shot 45 percent from the floor for the game and hit 50 percent from beyond the arc in the second half. Idaho State, which shot 41 percent after the break, held a 31-27 advantage on the boards, but turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 18 points for the home side.

Cal State Fullerton closes out the weekend with its final road contest of the calendar year, traveling to Houston on Sunday (Dec. 16) for a matinee against Texas Southern at 12 p.m. PT.