TULSA, Okla. – Cal State Fullerton worked from behind for most of Saturday's game, and despite 20 points from senior Michael Williams, the Titans failed to dissolve Tulsa's lead in a 73-57 loss to the Golden Hurricane at the Reynolds Center.
With the loss, the Titans (5-9) close the non-conference portion of the their schedule and look ahead to Big West Conference play hosting UC Riverside at 7 pm, Thursday at Titan Gym.
Williams led all scorers with 20 points, recording the sixth 20-point performance for a Titan this season including his third. He knocked down three three-pointers and added five rebounds.
The Titans trailed by as many as 16 in the first half, but Fullerton closed 34-33 after a Williams lay-up at the 17:15 mark of the second period. Tulsa (5-9) proceeded to score seven unanswered points to pull away with a 41-33 advantage until an inside bucket from Steve McClellan finally broke the Titans' drought.
Tulsa's James Woodard nailed a three-pointer to cap a 7-0 run that extended the Golden Hurricane lead to 52-41 with 7:43 left on the clock. The run was ended as Williams attacked the basket and converted a lay-up despite the foul. Fullerton would not come closer than within nine for the remainder of the game.
Cal State Fullerton struggled offensively in the second half shooting just 34.5 percent (10-of-29) while also committing 10 turnovers in the final 20 minutes. For the game, Fullerton shot 37.3 percent from the floor (19-of-51) and held a 36-29 rebounding advantage.
Tulsa had four players in double figures as Woodard, Rashad Smith and D'Andre Wright each scored 12 points. Shaquille Harrison added 11 points for the Golden Hurricane.
Tulsa shot 50.0 percent (24-of-48) for the game and held a 28-18 advantage in the paint while scoring 20 points off of Fullerton's 16 turnovers.
Cal State Fullerton trailed by as many as 16 in the first half, but ended the half on a 12-2 run to enter the locker room trailing just 32-28 at the break.
Williams led all scorers with 12 points in the first 20 minutes, including knocking down three buckets from long distance.
Tulsa opened the game on an 8-0 run and held Fullerton without a field goal until Williams drained a three-pointer at the top of the arc with 15:57 left to play in the first.
After Williams' trey at the 15:57 mark, Fullerton did not record another field goal until Chris Collins' inside bucket at the 11:43 mark as Tulsa had built an 18-6 lead.
Fullerton trailed 22-7 in the first half with 8:56 to play, but the Titans went on a quick 8-2 run capped by a Williams' three-pointer to pull within 24-15 as 7:19 remained in the first half.
Tulsa built its lead back to double digits, 30-16, with 4:40 to play before Fullerton ended the half on a 12-2 run. During that stretch, six different Titans got on the scoreboard.
Cal State Fullerton completes non-conference competition with a record of 5-9. The Titans return to action at 7 p.m., Thursday, hosting UC Riverside to open play in the Big West Conference at Titan Gym.
Fullerton will host Youth Night against the Highlanders on Thursday as all children ages 12 and under will receive free admission.
Notes: The Titans were without sophomore Jared Brandon who is listed as day-to-day with a left ankle injury…Cal State Fullerton used its sixth starting lineup of the season – Marquis Horne, Steve McClellan, Alex Harris, Michael Williams and Sheldon Blackwell…with 20 points, Michael Williams has scored in double figures for 14 straight games, and he also recorded his third game with at least 20 points…Cal State Fullerton never led in a game for the sixth time this season…Marquis Horne exited the game at the 8:35 mark of the second half after suffering a blow to his jaw….Steve McClellan committed his fifth foul at the 1:53 mark of the second half – the sixth time a Titan has fouled out this year.