December 8, 2013

Titans Can’t Find Rhythm in Loss to Seattle

Box Score (PDF)

FULLERTON, Calif. – Despite a season-high 21-point effort from Michael Williams, Cal State Fullerton failed to recover following an early 10-point deficit in a 74-65 loss to Seattle U on Saturday night at Titan Gym.

The Redhawks (6-3) shot an astounding 61.9 percent (26-of-42) from the floor led by former Titan Isiah Umipig's 20 points and four assists as the redshirt junior knocked down 4-of-5 from three-point range. Jarell Flora added 15 points, shooting 4-of-6 from the beyond the arc, while Deshaun Sunderhaus added 17 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-9 shooting off the bench.

Seattle's overall shooting percentage (.619) and three-point percentage (.571) both marked season highs for Fullerton (3-7) opponents this season.

The Redhawks never trailed in the game, and the Titans were swept by Seattle this season also suffering a 75-71 loss at Key Arena on Nov. 13.

Steve McClellan recorded the first Titan double-double of the year with 10 points and a season-high 12 rebounds – the most boards for any Fullerton player during the season. Alex Harris added nine points, four assists and three steals.

Seattle opened the game on a 10-0 run as Cal State Fullerton missed its first five attempts until Sheldon Blackwell's lay-up courtesy of a Harris steal at the 16:01 mark.

The Redhawks led by as many as 17, 28-11, in the first half, but Fullerton produced a 13-4 run as Williams scored the final eight points during the stretch.

The senior guard converted a three-point play, dropped in a second lay-up, and followed it up with a three-pointer as the closest Fullerton would close in the first half was 32-24 at the 6:58 mark.

Cal State Fullerton trailed Seattle 43-28 at the break, as the Redhawks shot 63 percent (17-of-27) from the floor including 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) from three-point range in the first period.

The Titans shot a respectable 44.4 percent (12-of-27) from the floor, but committed seven first-half turnovers while not one player off the bench was able to score in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, Williams penetrated the lane and found an open Jared Brandon in the corner, who was fouled on his three-point attempt at the 11:49 mark. Brandon knocked each of his three attempts to cut Seattle's lead to single digits, 51-43, for the first time in the second half.

At the 10:00 mark, Brandon's offensive rebound gained the Titans an extra possession and Chris Collins was able to score an inside bucket despite being fouled while also hitting the free throw as the Titans closed 53-46 – but that was the closest Fullerton would get.

The Titans held advantages in rebounds (37-27), steals (6-2), points in the paint (36-26) and second-chance points (25-11).

Fullerton remains at Titan Gym for its next two games hosting Texas Southern at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15 and Sacramento State at 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21.

Notes: Cal State Fullerton is 0-2 against Seattle this season and 1-2 in the all-time series…Michael Williams scored a season-high 21 points, and reached double figures for the 10th consecutive game…Steve McClellan was the first Titan to record a double-double this season with 10 points and a career-best 12 rebounds…Cal State Fullerton is now 0-6 when scoring less than 70 points…the Titans did not a hold a lead in a game for the fourth time this season…Seattle's .619 field goal percentage and .571 three-point field goal percentage marked  Titan opponent season highs…Seattle's eight first-half three-pointers were the most a Titan opponent has knocked down in one half since San Jose State drained nine in the first half on Nov. 23…in the first meeting between the Redhawks and Titans on Nov. 13 in Seattle, the Redhawks drained nine three-pointers in the second half…Alex Harris was the fifth Titan to foul out this year,