March 9, 2013

Titans Edged at Cal Poly to End Regular Season

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Chris O'Brien shared team-high honors with 14 points -- 12 of those in the second half -- and his three-point play with 2:04 remaining broke a 55-all tie to give his side the lead for good, helping Cal Poly edge visiting Cal State Fullerton, 62-60, in the regular season finale for both teams Saturday night at Mott Gym.

The loss, coupled with UC Santa Barbara's 10-point win over UC Riverside, sent the Titans (14-17, 6-12) into the No. 8 seed for next week's Big West Conference Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., where they will open against top-seeded Long Beach State on Thursday night (March 14) at 6 p.m.

The match-up will be shown on a tape-delayed basis on Fox Sports PrimeTicket and Fox College Sports Pacific immediately following the Hawaii-UC Irvine quarterfinal.

Cal Poly improved to 17-12 overall and 12-6 in the Big West with its fifth-straight win, moving to 9-0 at home this season. The third-seeded Mustangs will meet sixth-seeded UC Davis at approximately 2:30 p.m.

Senior Kwame Vaughn and sophomore Alex Harris each finished with a game-high 22 points on the night, combining to score all but 16 points for the Titans, who shot just under 49 percent from the floor for the night -- including a 56 percent clip in the first half en route to a 35-33 halftime lead.

For Harris, it was a career high and his seventh-straight double-digit scoring performance. Vaughn notched his third-straight game of at least 20 points and reached that plateau for the 12th time this season.

The duo, along with freshman Jared Brandon, each played all 40 minutes for Fullerton, which never trailed by more than five points the entire second half. Down four, junior Deuce Johnson scored inside and a dunk by Harris tied the game at 55 before the Mustangs took control.

O'Brien scored inside and converted the three-point play with just over two minutes to play and a 1-for-2 from the line by Chris Eversley extended the lead to four points with :58 to go. Harris for the Titans and Eversley traded lay-ups before Eversley, who had 14 points on 6-of-12 from the field, scored inside again and Jamal Johnson hit 1-of-2 from the line to extend the lead to five with four seconds to play.

Vaughn then hit a three right before the buzzer for the final margin.

Fullerton scored seven of the first 10 points of the game and led by as many as five in the first four minutes of the game before Cal Poly rallied, exploding for a 10-0 run to go ahead 14-10 with 13:25 to play. The Titans kept the deficit to within five points until the final five minutes of the game when they made a push for the halftime lead.

Vaughn nailed a three-pointer as Fullerton scored 10 of the next 11 points, closing the period with a 12-5 burst to go up two at the break.