Seeley Hits Milestone as Titans Roll Over Mustangs, 77-60
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Cal State Fullerton senior D.J. Seeley became the 21st Titan player to reach 1,000 career points, finishing with 21 on the night to led three teammates in double figures as Fullerton rolled over third-place Cal Poly, 77-60, on Wednesday night at Titan Gym.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Titans (13-13, 6-8) as they allowed their fewest number of points in a Big West Conference game this season and played without senior forward Sammy Yeager, who missed the game due to a back injury suffered earlier in the week and is listed as day-to-day. The Mustangs (12-12, 8-6) saw their three-game winning streak snapped, held to just 39 percent shooting for the game.
"I'm so proud of these guys, I'm so proud of this team," Interim Head Coach Andy Newman said. "We're doing this with only five scholarship players and we lost another one to a back injury, Sammy Yeager, who had been playing really well the last few days, but it's just another piece of adversity that hit us and I'm just really proud of the way we responded to it."
"This game was huge for us tonight," Seeley said. "Our momentum was going down and tonight we came out and laid everything out on the court. We went out played hard, I liked the way we looked. I liked the way we were playing together, playing defense, rebounding. We're not going to do everything perfect every play, but I thought, when we started to go down a little bit in the second half, I liked the way we picked ourselves back up."
Needing just seven points entering the night, Seeley reached the milestone on an "and one" with 14:43 to play in the first half as he scored eight of the team's first 11 points in the game. He finished 9-of-12 from the field to go with a pair of rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes as his 21-point night moved him into a tie with Mike Niles (1976-79) for 19th on the all-time scoring list with 1,014 points.
"It feels good, but it feels better that we got the win," Seeley said.
"I'm really proud of him," Newman said. "He's had a tremendous career here and his next five games… look out. He's a tremendous player, a tremendous person, and he's got great character. It was fun to see him respond."
Senior Kwame Vaughn added a game-high 23 points, moving him to within 52 points of also reaching the 1,000-point milestone, to go along with six rebounds and seven assists while Alex Harris and Jared Brandon scored 10 points apiece.
Fullerton trailed only once in the game after Cal Poly scored the first basket of the game as Seeley nailed a pair of three-pointers and Brandon finished a three-point play for a 9-2 lead. The burst was part of a larger 13-0 run for the Titans, who grew their lead to as many as 20 points in the final two minutes before carrying a 40-23 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Mustangs whittled the deficit down to just seven points at 47-40 with 13:09 to play thanks to a 17-7 run to start the second half, and got as close as six with just over 12 minutes to play before Fullerton found its second wind and pulled away. Deuce Johnson drained a short jumper and Seeley scored the next five points to push the lead back to double digits, part of a 21-9 streak over the next nine minutes that gave the Titans a 20-point, 72-52, advantage with 2:42 to play and they never looked back.
Chris O'Brien came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points and grab a game-high nine rebounds for Cal Poly and was joined in double figures by Kyle Odister's 11 points in 19 minutes. The Mustangs out rebounded the Titans, 34-30, but committed 14 turnovers that led to 22 points for the home team, which also held a 38-22 advantage in the paint.
With just five games remaining in the regular season, Fullerton takes its final break from Big West Conference play on Saturday (Feb. 23) as the Titans head to the Lone Star State to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as part of ESPNU's Ramada Worldwide Bracketbusters series at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.
GAME NOTES: Seeley is the sixth-fastest player to 1,000 career points in school history, accomplishing the feat in 57 games... Seeley tallied his 11th game of 20-or-more points this season while Vaughn reached the 20-point plateau for the 10th time in 2012-13... freshman Jared Brandon made his first start since Jan. 17 against UC Irvine and tallied his first double-digit scoring game since Jan. 9 at Bakersfield (15 points)... the 23 first-half points allowed were the second-fewest given up by the Titans this season (20 vs. Idaho State on Dec. 13)... with Wednesday's decision, the Titans have posted double-digit wins in nine of their 13 wins this season and their most since a 19-point win at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5... the 56 percent shooting was the team's best since Fullerton hit .586 against the Matadors in Northridge.