Steady Performance Leads Titans Past ‘Runners, 74-62
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton senior Sammy Yeager finished with game highs of 18 points and eight rebounds to lead a steady Titan offense on Wednesday night as they closed out a midweek, 74-62, victory over host CSU Bakersfield in a non-conference contest at the Icardo Center.
The win was Fullerton's sixth the last seven games as the Titans improved to 9-6 overall heading into this weekend's Big West Conference match up with UC Riverside at Titan Gym on Saturday (Jan. 12) at 6:05 p.m. The Roadrunners, who edged Fullerton by two points on Dec. 6 in Orange County, fell to 6-13 overall on the year after watching their four-game winning streak over the Titans come to an end.
Yeager hit 7-of-14 from the floor to pace the offense, which featured four players in double figures. Sophomore Alex Harris almost did it all, scoring 11 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and tallying six steals in the win while freshman Jared Brandon (15) and senior Kwame Vaughn (14) also scored in double figures, the latter adding eight assists in the victory.
Senior D.J. Seeley, who had scored in double figures in all 14 games this season and 20-straight overall dating back to last season, saw his run snapped, finishing with just eight points, but he added six rebounds, five assists, and three steals to balance out his line in the victory.
Stephon Carter led Bakersfield with 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists, hitting 5-of-8 from the floor in 35 minutes. Brandon Barnes and Javante Maynor each added 11 while Tyrone White finished with 10 points for Bakersfield.
Fullerton shot just under 61 percent in the first half on 17-of-28 from the floor to race out to an eight-point halftime lead, but trailed by as many as six points in the opening period just three minutes in. A 12-5 burst, capped by a three-pointer by Yeager, gave the Titans the advantage for the first time since the opening minute.
Two baskets by Seeley and a score inside by junior Deuce Johnson gave Fullerton its biggest lead of the period at 23-18 with 10:21 to play, but four free throws by Barnes and a lay-up by Carter sparked a 6-0 run that erased the deficit and put Bakersfield back up one, two minutes later. The Titans trailed only once more at 31-29 with four minutes to play in the half, but Yeager drove to the basket to spark a 10-0 run to end the half as Fullerton carried a 39-31 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Roadrunners never got closer than two points on two occasions in the second half, the last coming with 13:17 to play on a three-point play by Barnes, but an 8-0 run by Fullerton – with six of those points coming via Brandon – put the lead into double digits as the Titans led by as many as 13 points on a dunk by Vaughn with six minutes to play and they never looked back.
Bakersfield closed to with six points at 66-60 with 2:42 to play on a pair from the line by Erik Kinney, but Fullerton scored eight of the final 10 points to ice the victory.
The Titans shot just under 53 percent for the game to the Roadrunners' 51 percent and overcame their second-worst shooting night from three-point range (.313), but took advantage of Bakersfield's 24 turnovers, turning them into 29 points.