SEATTLE – Seattle's full-court pressure in the final minutes of the game perplexed Cal State Fullerton's offense as the Titans watched a double-digit lead quickly vanish in a 75-71 loss to Seattle on Wednesday night at KeyArena.
Fullerton (1-1) led by as many as 18 points (51-33; 12:47) in the second half, but Seattle's full-court press late in the game aided the Redhawks (1-1) as they ended the contest on a 24-6 run.
During that stretch, which started with the Titans nursing a healthy 65-51 lead with 4:24 remaining in the game, former Titan Isiah Umipig – playing in just his second game for Seattle after redshirting last season following his transfer from Fullerton – knocked down a three-pointer to start Seattle's final rally.
A quick Titan turnover with the Redhawks suffocating full-court pressure led to a second Seattle trey – this time nailed by Luiz Bidart as the Redhawks had quickly cut the lead to single digits, 65-57, with 3:33 on the clock.
Another Titan turnover led to two Umipig free throws and Josh Gentry missed two freebies at the charity stripe for Fullerton before Jarell Flora knocked down a bucket from long distance with 3:18 remaining as Fullerton's lead diminished to 65-62.
A second Flora three-pointer tied the game at 65-65 before the teams traded two made free throws apiece. At the 2:16 mark, Flora sank an additional two free throws to give the Redhawks a 69-67 lead – Seattle first advantage since making the game's opening basket. Seattle did not give up the lead down the stretch.
Seattle outscored the Titans 47-33 in the second half, draining nine three-pointers in the game's final 20 minutes.
Flora scored a game-high 25 points, converting five three-pointers, while Umipig scored 24 points, dished eight assists and knocked down 6-of-8 from the free-throw line. Seattle shot 50.0 percent (13-of-26) from the floor in the second half.
Playing in just his second game as a Titan, Michael Williams led Cal State Fullerton with 17 points while Alex Harris chipped in 14 points. Marquis Horne added 14 points and five rebounds for the Titans, but Fullerton lost his services at the 2:16 mark of the second half following his fifth foul.
The Redhawks and Titans will meet again when Seattle visits Titan Gym on Saturday, Dec. 7.
The Titans return to Cal State Fullerton on Saturday for their home opener, hosting Santa Clara at 3 pm. Saturday will be a busy day at Titan Gym as the CSF women's basketball team hosts Fresno State at noon on Saturday, and the Titan volleyball team welcomes Long Beach State at 7:30 p.m.
Notes: Wednesday's game was Seattle's home opener as well as the Elgin Baylor Classic. Baylor was recognized before the game…Seattle scored 22 points off Fullerton's 11 turnovers…the all-time series between Fullerton and Seattle is now even at 1-1.