Williams and Harris Drive Titans to Victory
FULLERTON, Calif. – Michael Williams buried four three-pointers in the second half en route to a game-high 24 points as Cal State Fullerton defeated Texas Southern, 87-80, on Sunday afternoon at Titan Gym.
Williams scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor in the final 20 minutes as the senior recorded his 11th straight game in double figures while adding a team-leading four assists. In addition, Williams' 24-point effort marked the highest scoring total for a Titan this season while his four long-distance buckets also marked a Titan season best.
Junior guard Alex Harris chipped in a season-high 21 points – making 9-of-10 from the charity stripe – another Titan season high - as Cal State Fullerton (4-7) produced two 20-point scorers in the game for the first time this season.
The third Titan to reach double figures was freshman Joe Boyd, who scored a career-high 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 effort from the floor.
Fullerton scored a season-high 87 points, shooting a season best 54.4 percent (31-of-57) from the floor, outscoring Texas Southern (3-7), 42-32 in the paint.
The Titans took their then-largest lead of the game, 62-53, after Texas Southern was charged with a technical foul and Williams knocked down both of his opportunities at the free-throw line with 8:39 to play. One of four Williams' three-pointers in the second half gave Fullerton a 65-56 lead with 8:03 to play.
But Texas Southern would not go away, led by Aaric Murray's double-double performance of 21 points and 12 rebounds. After establishing a nine-point lead, the Tigers closed to 65-64 on an 8-0 run as D'Angelo Scott knocked down a pair of free throws.
But Williams quickly gave Fullerton some breathing room, draining his third three-pointer with 6:20 remaining before Steve McClellan and Harris converted back-to-back three-point plays giving the Titans their first double-digit lead, 74-64, with 4:51 remaining on the clock.
Texas Southern would close within four with 3:28 to play, but Williams knocked his fourth and final bucket from beyond the arc with 1:39 to go as Fullerton led 80-70.
Fullerton was outrebounded 45-27, but forced the Tigers into 16 turnovers, scoring 24 points off Texas Southern errors. In addition, Fullerton's bench outscored Texas Southern 21-7 led by James Johnson (7 points), Josh Gentry (6 points), Chris Collins (4 points) and McClellan (4 points).
Texas Southern finished the game with four players in double figures as Madarious Gibbs added 20 points and Law Johnson-Danner chipped in 13 followed by Scott's 11-point effort.
Cal State Fullerton entered the second half with a 39-33 lead thanks to a 28-10 advantage in the paint as Boyd scored eight early first-half points.
Harris led the Titans with 11 points as Fullerton shot 48.6 percent (17-of-35) from the floor in the first half. The Titans also scored 17 points off of the Tigers 13 first-half turnovers.
The first half featured eight tie scores, but Fullerton could not retake the lead until Harris buried a jump shot on the breakaway with 6:21 to play in the first half giving the Titans a 23-22 edge. Fullerton closed the half on a 16-11 run.
Cal State Fullerton plays its final home game of its December homestand on Saturday, hosting Sacramento State at 3 p.m. The game is part of a doubleheader with the women's basketball team, who is hosting Seattle at 6 pm. Fans with a ticket for the men's game are welcome to stay for the women's game against the Redhawks.
Notes: Michael Williams has scored in double figures for 11 straight games, scoring a game-high 24 points which also marked a Titan season high…freshman Joe Boyd scored a career high 10 points…Alex Harris scored a season-high 21 points…the Titans had two players scoring 20 points or more for the first time since March 9, 2013 vs. Cal Poly…Fullerton is 4-0 when scoring over 78 points and shooting over 50 percent from the floor…Fullerton is now 3-1 when leading at the half and 4-0 when shooting a higher percentage than its opponent…Fullerton leads the all-time series against Texas Southern, 2-0…Fullerton scored a season-high 87 points, shooting a season-best 54.4 percent from the floor...Michael Williams' 18 second-half points were the most a Titan has scored in a single half this year, and four made three-pointers is also a Titan season high in 2013-14…Alex Harris' nine made free throws was also a Titan season best as well as career high.