BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Dedrique Taylor era at Cal State Fullerton began in commanding fashion as the Titans opened the 2013-14 season with an 84-55 victory over Montana State at Worthington Arena on Saturday evening.
The Titans shot 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the floor as Fullerton's offense used dribble penetration to manufacture open looks, and CSF converted those chances, knocking down 9-of-18 attempts from three-point range.
"I think our players did a good job of executing the game plan that the coaching staff put together," Taylor said following his first win as a head coach. "Our preparation was good. We shot the ball well, and we worked well together to get open looks."
Dating back to the 1960-61 season, Taylor is the fifth of 11 head coaches in Titan history to win their first game as head coach at Cal State Fullerton, joining Alex Omalev, John Sneed, Brad Holland and Bob Hawking.
"It was very exciting because we won and I had fun being with our players," Taylor said of his first game as a head coach. "We are fortunate to have players that understand what we are trying to accomplish."
Four Cal State Fullerton players reached double figures led by junior guard Alex Harris' game-high 20-points. The native of Richmond, Calif., shot 8-of-13 from the floor including 2-of-4 from three-point range.
Playing in his first game as a Titan after redshirting a year ago, Michael Williams scored 14 points and was credited with three steals.
The Titan defense held the Bobcats to a .340 shooting percentage as Montana State struggled from beyond the three-point line, converting only 2-of-20 attempts.
"Defensively, we took Montana State out of their rhythm early, and I think that bothered them down the stretch," Taylor said.
Flavien Davis and Paul Egwuonwu scored 10 points apiece for the Bobcats.
Fullerton held a 30-14 point advantage in the paint, and scored 20 points off 12 Bobcat turnovers.
The Titans shot an astounding 62.1 percent in the first half as Fullerton took a 49-25 lead into the locker behind Harris' 16 first-half points.
"We've got to enjoy the win tonight and turn the page," Taylor said . "When we get back home, we'll get back on the floor and introduce our players to Seattle."
Fullerton returns to action on Wednesday to play its second straight road game at Seattle. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and the game will be televised on ROOT Sports Northwest.
The Titans, who play four of their first five games on the road, return to Titan Gym on Saturday to host Santa Clara at 3 p.m. The men's game is part of a tripleheader at Titan Gym on Saturday as the women's basketball team will host Fresno State at noon, followed by women's volleyball match against Long Beach State at 7:30 p.m.
Notes: Head coach Dedrique Taylor earned his first win as a head coach…he is the fifth Titan head coach to win his first game at Cal State Fullerton…Cal State Fullerton won its season opener against a Division I opponent for the first time since a 75-67 win at BYU on Nov. 22, 1996 (the 2007-08 season opener was played against CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners as the program was in transition to Div. I status)…in five tries, Cal State Fullerton won just its second game in Bozeman, as the Titans previous win was a 73-67 victory on Dec. 10, 1998…the all-time series between the two programs is now even at 4-4…Fullerton's 29-point margin of victory was its largest since a 106-60 win against San Diego Christian on Nov. 23, 2013…it was the Titans largest margin of victory against a Division I opponent since a 112-69 win over Southern Utah on Nov. 17, 2013…it was Cal State Fullerton's largest margin of victory on the road since an 81-50 win at Utah on Dec. 7, 2011.