February 2, 2013

Late Run Stymies Titans as Warriors Rally to Win, 77-75

FULLERTON, Calif. -- Christian Standhardinger scored 18 points to lead five Hawaii players in double figures and a late 13-2 run erased a 10-point deficit to help pace the Warriors to a, 77-75, victory over host Cal State Fullerton in front of a raucous Titan Gym crowd of 3,978 fans on Saturday night in Fullerton.

Senior D.J. Seeley drained a three-pointer from the left elbow with 2.2 seconds to play to bring the Titans (11-11, 4-6) to within two points and Fullerton had the ball with just over a second to play after Hauns Brereton missed two from the line. However, Seeley's three-quarter court heave sailed wide right as time expired.

"I just think shots didn't fall tonight," Cal State Fullerton coach Andy Newman said. "I think we got good shots -- Kwame had a wide-open look in the corner, Sammy had a wide-open look -- we had great shots, they just didn't fall for us. Usually, you can attribute that to shot selection, maybe the shots were too contested, bad shots, but that wasn't the case tonight.

"I thought ball movement was good. I thought guys played together. I thought guys were penetrating, kicking, really looking for each other. It was a team effort on the offensive end, it was just one of those days when the ball didn't go through the hoop."

Saturday's attendance was the largest crowd for a Cal State Fullerton home game since the Titans drew 4,205 against Long Beach State on Feb. 18, 2009.

"The atmosphere was phenomenal," Newman said. "The students, the alumni, everybody came back. It was a great job of getting that gym packed. It was a tremendous environment and it really helped our guys a lot. We only shot 26 percent from three and the crowd was worth 15-20 points tonight, no question. I really appreciate it, the guys appreciate it, and it was fun to see."

Kwame Vaughn scored 19 points to lead the Titans (11-11, 4-6), who fell for the third-straight contest and the fifth time in the last six games, while Seeley finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals in 37 minutes. Sammy Yeager also added 17 points before fouling out with less than 30 seconds to play.

Hawaii (13-9, 7-4) also got a double-double from Vander Joaquim (15 points, 10 rebounds) while Brereton (13), Isaac Fotu (13), and Brandon Spearman (11) also chipped in double figures for the Warriors, who shot 48 percent from the floor for the game, including a 50 percent clip in the second half.

Trailing 33-23 with 4:10 remaining in the first half, Fullerton exploded for a 12-0 run to regain the lead and the Titans closed the half on a 16-2 run overall to carry a four-point, 39-35, lead into the locker room at the break. Fullerton then opened up a nine-point lead to start the second, scoring seven of the first nine points in the period, and eventually grew the advantage to 12 points at 53-41 with 15:28 to play.

The two teams traded baskets with the lead never sinking below seven points, eventually going up 10 points, 62-52, with 8:19 to play before the Warriors staged their comeback. Brereton scored inside to start an 8-0 run that made it 62-60 with 5:36 to go and, after Vaughn scored inside, Standhardinger hit two from the line and back-to-back three pointers by Brereton and Spearman completed the comeback as Hawaii built a four-point lead.

Fullerton stayed close as Hawaii hit just 7-of-11 from the line to leave the door open, but could get no closer than one point twice on a three-pointer and lay-up by Seeley in separate trips down the court around a basket by Fotu. Both Standhardinger and Joaquim then each hit 1-of-2 from the line in the closing seconds for the five-point lead prior to Seeley's three as the Warriors escaped with the win.

The Titans shot just under 45 percent from the game and outrebounded Hawaii, 38-33, but hit just 6-of-23 (.261) from three-point range for the contest. Hawaii took 14 more free throws than Fullerton, but hit just 68 percent from the line on the night.

A single game awaits the Titans next week as they kick-off a three-game televised road swing. Fullerton heads to the Inland Empire to take on UC Riverside on Saturday (Feb. 9) at 8 p.m., in a Fox Sports Prime Ticket broadcast from the SRC Arena.

GAME NOTES: The two-point loss to Hawaii marked the third-straight defeat and the eighth time in 11 losses this season that Fullerton has fallen by 10 points or fewer… Vaughn, Seeley, and Yeager all reached double figures in the same game for the 15th time in 22 contests this season… the Titans are now 4-8 on Groundhog Day (3-6 at home)… Saturday marked the first time since Jan. 12 against UC Riverside that Fullerton has held a double-digit lead in a game… the three-game losing streak is tied for the longest this season (Nov. 30-Dec. 6).