FULLERTON, Calif. - Miami junior James Kelly scored 10 points to lead the Hurricanes to a narrow 48-46 win over tournament host Cal State Fullerton in game six of the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy at Titan Gym.
With the win, Miami (4-3) will face the winner of the Arizona State/College of Charleston game with an 11 a.m. (PST) tipoff on ESPN3. CSF will play the loser of the Arizona State/College of Charleston game and will be played at 1:30 p.m. (PST) on ESPNU. Both games will be played at Honda Center in Anaheim.
In the first half, the Hurricanes took a 13-4 lead over the Titans with 11:44 remaining. CSF went on a 10-1 run to tie the game at 14 at the 6:30 mark. Miami pulled away with the last six minutes remaining to go on a 9-3 run into halftime.
"It was a real defensive struggle," Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. "Neither team could put points on the board. Scoring 48 and still winning the game, we have to be happy with the win and be happy with our activity defensively. But obviously, we can't shoot 42 percent overall, 15 percent from three and 30 percent from the foul line and win many games."
Miami took a double-digit lead in the second half going up by 17 (41-24) with 8:36 remaining. The Titans made a valiant comeback with the last eight minutes, going on a 22-7 run to come within two with 21 seconds left.
Redshirt senior Michael Williams led the way for the Titans, scoring 15 points, while freshman Sheldon Blackwell added 13 points and a team-high six assists. Chris Collins and Joe Boyd chipped in with five rebounds a piece.
The Hurricanes shot 43 percent from the field, 16 percent from the three-point line and 30 percent from the foul line.
"Like I said before, we're a better shooting team than this," Larrañaga added. "We've got to mentally prepare ourselves to make shots. You've got to give Fullerton a lot of credit for coming back. We were up by double figures and they changed their defense couple of times and we missed some shots and we turned the ball over far too many times against that pressure. Thirteen turnovers almost gave them the chance to win the ball game."
The Titans (2-5) were 35 percent from the floor, while make 4-of-18 three point shots (22%) and 62 percent from the foul line.
"I couldn't be more proud of our ball club tonight because they did nothing else but competed," said Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor. "And that's what we were after today. To just find out if we can compete and challenge ourselves to play as hard as we could."
"I thought we had a couple of lapses, but for the most part I was proud of our guys for their effort, their energy and their discipline for the most part," said Taylor. "I was extremely proud of what we accomplished out there on the floor. But moving forward, as a first-year program, it's imperative that we establish on what we did out there tonight, is that we competed."
Notes: The Titans were without leading scorer Alex Harris for the fourth straight game. He is listed as day-to-day with a right ankle sprain...first-year head coach Dedrique Taylor used his third starting lineup of the season as freshmen Sheldon Blackwell and Joe Boyd made their first career starts, respectively…Fullerton's four-game losing streak is its longest since dropping its final five games of the 2012-13 season (Feb. 28-March 14)…the Titans last started the season 2-5 during the 2010-11 campaign…Fullerton's 17 first-half points marked the Titans lowest point total in a half this season and its lowest total since scoring 16 vs. Pacific on Feb. 28, 2013…Michael Williams reached double figures (15) for the seventh consecutive game…Sheldon Blackwell dished a game-high six assists, a career high for the rookie and a season high for any Fullerton player this season…Fullerton's 46 points marked its lowest scoring total since suffering a 62-41 loss vs. Utah State on Feb. 20, 2003…Fullerton last held a team under 50 points since defeating LaVerne 86-44 on Dec. 17, 2011…Fullerton closes the month of November with a record of 2-5…Fullerton set season lows in points (46), field goals made (17), field goal percentage (.354), three-pointers made (4), three-point field goal percentage (.222)…the Titans held Miami to Titan opponent season lows of points (48), free throws made (3), free-throw percentage (.300)…the last game that Fullerton played in which a combined 94 points or less was scored marked a 47-41 loss to UC Riverside on Jan. 18, 2003.