FULLERTON, Calif. – Crucial three-pointers from Alex Harris and Marquis Horne helped the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team hold off a late Cal State Northridge rally at Titan Gym on Thursday as the Titans emerged with an 82-81 victory.
Harris finished the game with 16 points and a game-high five assists, and helped the Titans (10-17, 5-8 Big West) push their lead to double digits, 78-68, with a three-point shot as 2:46 remained.
Although the Matadors (14-16, 6-8 Big West) would chip away at the lead during the game's final minutes as Fullerton made just 4-of-10 attempts from the charity stripe following Harris' trey, Josh Greene's jumper at the buzzer for Cal State Northridge was off the mark ensuring the Titan win.
Cal State Fullerton remains seventh in the league standings with three regular season games remaining.
Michael Williams led the Titans with 23 points playing all 40 minutes, shooting 8-of-15 from the floor.
Horne poured in 16 points while adding five rebounds and three assists. The senior helped sparked the Titans with back-to-back three-pointers in the second half. After the Matadors closed to 65-63 with 6:46 to play following an inside bucket from Stephen Maxwell, Horne answered with a trey from the top of the arc. His third three-pointer of the game, less than a minute later on the wing, pushed Fullerton's advantage to 71-63.
Fullerton shot 52.8 percent from the floor and knocked down eight three-pointers while recording an 18-of-31 performance at the free-throw line.
Maxwell led Cal State Northridge with a double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Greene added 13 points on three 3-pointers. Tre Hale Edmerson scored 11 points for the Matadors, and Landon Drew chipped in 10 off the bench.
After a frantic first period, Cal State Fullerton held a 46-37 lead at halftime led by 15 points from Williams.
Cal State Fullerton built a double-digit lead, 14-4, as Williams drained a three-pointer and added a left-handed finish in the paint. Horne also knocked down a bucket from long distance and hit two free throws to give the Titans their 10-point edge at the 14:40 mark.
The Titan lead expanded to 15 points, 23-8, as James Johnson made two buckets in the paint. Fullerton's 15-point lead remained at the 10:16 mark, 26-11, but Cal State Northridge used a 13-5 run to cut the Titans' advantage to 31-24 after Greene nailed his third three-pointer during that stretch at the 7:28 mark.
Cal State Northridge closed as closely as 41-37 with 2:01 to play as Greene scored 11 first-half points, but the Titans closed the period on a 5-0 run shooting 55.2 percent (16-of-29) from the floor in the first half.
The Titans remain at home for their nest two games hosting Long Beach State at 6 p.m., Saturday, broadcast on ESPN3. Cal State Fullerton students are invited for early entry to Titan Gym at 4:30 p.m., where pizza and drinks will be supplied. Head coach Dedrique Taylor will be making an appearance and one lucky student will win a GoPro. Doors will open at 5 p.m. to the general public.
Cal State Fullerton hosts UC Irvine at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 6 at Titan Gym in the Titans' final home game of the year. Fullerton seniors Michael Williams, Marquis Horne and James Johnson will be honored prior to tip-off.
Notes: Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton split their season series…Cal State Fullerton used its 10th starting lineup of the year: Michael Williams, Alex Harris, Josh Gentry, Marquis Horne and Steve McClellan…the Titans are now 6-0 when scoring over 74 points and shooting more than 50.0 percent from the floor…Michael Williams scored 23 points, reaching double figures for the 27th straight game and eclipsing the 20-point threshold for the 11th time this season…Fullerton is 2-5 in games decided by five points or less.