SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton held Cal Poly scoreless for over three minutes in the final moments of Thursday night's Big West game, while Michael Williams spurred the Titans with a 23-point performance as CSF edged the Mustangs 67-59 at Mott Athletics Center.
The Titans (9-16, 4-7 Big West) remain seventh in the Big West standings, and stay on the road traveling to UC Santa Barbara for a 4 p.m. tip-off on Saturday.
The majority of Williams' 23 points came from the free-throw line as the senior converted 14 of his 16 attempts, setting a career high as well as a season best for any Titan during the season. Williams made 10-of-12 in the game's second half, including a crucial 8-of-8 performance in the final 1:27. The Van Nuys, Calif., native also added a season-high seven rebounds.
In addition to Williams, junior Alex Harris added 13 points – all in the first half - knocking down three 3-pointers and dishing three assists, while Steve McClellan scored 10 points on a 5-of-6 shooting night.
Senior Marquis Horne set a career high swatting four Cal Poly shots.
Cal Poly (9-16, 5-7 Big West), which fell into a fifth-place tie with Cal State Northridge in the Big West standings, was paced by Chris Eversley's double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, while David Nwaba added 13 points.
Cal Poly closed the game to six points at 56-50 after an Eversley trey at the 4:37 mark of the second half, but Cal State Fullerton held the Mustangs scoreless for over three minutes until Eversley knocked down a freebie at the 1:13 mark as the Titans held a 59-51 advantage.
The Titans shot 45.7 percent (21-of-46) from the floor, including a .517 percentage in the first half which allowed Fullerton to build a 39-24 lead as Cal Poly turned the ball over six times and shot 29.7 percent from the floor in the first stanza.
In the first half, Cal State Fullerton gained control with an 11-0 run capped by a pair of free throws by Williams with 9:30 to go before intermission. At one point, Cal Poly missed 10 consecutive floor shots before Kyle Odister ended the drought with a jumper with 4:59 to go in the half.
The Mustangs used a 15-4 run early in the second half to trim the deficit 44-39 with 13:21 to play, but that was as close as Cal Poly would get.
Cal Poly committed 26 fouls, and the Titans responded by draining 20-of-30 from the free-throw line.
Notes: Cal State Fullerton snapped its seven-game road losing streak and won its first Big West game on the road this year…the Titans and Mustangs have split their season series for the third straight year…Cal State Fullerton won in San Luis Obispo for the first time since Feb. 24, 2010…Michael Williams has now scored in double figures (23 points) for 25 straight games, and he has scored at least 20 points on nine occasions this year. His 14 made free throws and 16 attempts set career highs as well as Titan season bests. Williams' team-leading seven rebounds were also a season high…Marquis Horne's four blocks set a Titan season best as well as career high for the senior.