LONG BEACH, Calif. -- James Ennis finished with a game-high 26 points and 15 rebounds to lead five Long Beach State players in double figures and the host 49ers used a 13-0 run to break a 46-all tie early in the second half Wednesday night en route to an 85-65 victory over Cal State Fullerton at the Walter Pyramid.
"I thought Long Beach played great," Interim Head Coach Andy Newman said. "We battled back to tie the game at 46 and then they just out-toughed us for the ball, outrebounded us again by 20, and they were just quicker to the ball. They wanted the game and it is a testament to those guys, the game was there for the taking for both teams and they took it. They played great, they deserved to win, and they did."
Seniors Sammy Yeager and Kwame Vaughn each finished with 18 points while freshman Jared Brandon added a career-high 10 rebounds -- six on the offensive end -- for Fullerton (12-12, 5-7 in the Big West Conference), which shot just 37 percent after the break and went without a point for a pair of four-minute spans as Long Beach State scored 25 of the 28 points in the game at one point midway through the period.
Senior D.J. Seeley finished with 10 points and six assists against only one turnover in 25 minutes, missing the final 14 minutes of the game after going down at the baseline with severe cramping in his legs.
Trailing by six at the break, the Titans used a 10-4 run to draw even at 46-46 capped by a three-pointer from Yeager at the 17:24 mark. That was when Fullerton went cold as the 49ers went on a 13-0 run to take command, holding the Titans scoreless for a span of 4:22 until another trey by Yeager at the 13:02 mark. Another 12-0 burst by Long Beach State then put the game away.
Tony Freeland also added a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds for the 49ers (15-9, 11-2), who shot almost 55 percent in the second half to pull away. Dan Jennings (12), Peter Pappageorge (12), and Keala King (10) also finished in double figures for Long Beach State, which outrebounded Fullerton, 49-30, using 20 offensive rebounds to post 23 second-chance points.
The Titans never led in the contest, trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half before they began to chip away. A three-pointer by Yeager started a 14-6 run for Fullerton that cut the deficit down to just three points at 31-28 with 5:46 to play.
After a basket by King inside, Yeager hit two from the line to bring the Titans back to within a possession, but that would be as close as the Titans would come as the two teams traded baskets down the stretch as Long Beach State carried a 42-36 lead into the locker room.
Cal State Fullerton closes out the week on Saturday night (Feb. 16) at 8 p.m. as the Titans head to Orange County rival UC Irvine for a clash with the Anteaters in a Fox Sports PrimeTicket contest from the Bren Center.
GAME NOTES: The Titans did not hold a lead in a game for only the second time this season (vs. Cal State Northridge on Jan. 31)... with his 10 points, senior D.J. Seeley stands just nine points away from reaching 1,000 for his career... Fullerton fell to 2-3 on television this season with Wednesday night's loss... Brandon became only the second Titan to tally double-digit rebounds this season (Marquis Horne had 10 vs. San Diego Christian on Nov. 23)... the 15 offensive rebounds tied a season high set at Washington on Dec. 2 in Seattle.