Titan Sharp Shooting Downs LBSU, 84-76
FULLERTON, Calif. – Michael Williams started a second-half rally that couldn't be stopped as the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team used constant energy to knock off Long Beach State, 84-76, at Titan Gym on Saturday night in front of 1,806.
Williams scored a game-high 28 points – 20 in the second half – as the Titans (11-17, 6-8 Big West) shot 62.1 percent (18-of-29) from the floor in the second period while also knocking down six three-pointers in the game's final 20 minutes.
Fullerton is currently fifth in the Big West Conference standings, and has qualified for the Big West Tournament.
The Titans trailed by as many as 14 in the first half to Long Beach State (13-15, 9-5 Big West), but clawed back to cut that lead to three at halftime while a flurry of three straight three-pointers gave the Titans a lead they would not relinquish in the second stanza.
Williams hit the first two long distance buckets while Alex Harris added the finale, turning a 48-45 deficit into a 54-48 lead – the Titans first of the game – with 14:25 to play.
Harris finished the game with 22 points while adding a game-high five assists, making 18 trips to the free-throw line and converting 11 of his attempts.
Marquis Horne was the third Titan to reach double figures, scoring 18 points and playing a major role in Fullerton's run. After taking the 54-48 advantage, the Titan run continued as Fullerton used a 12-8 run to take its first double-digit lead, 66-56, at the 8:41 mark after a bucket from Horne.
Fullerton's high-octane style of play continued as a Horne steal on the defensive end led to a Williams reverse lay-up off the no-look pass from Harris as the Titans led 78-65 with just under four minutes to play.
The Titans finished the game shooting a season-best 56.4 percent (31-of-55) from the floor.
Mike Caffey led Long Beach State with 22 points while Dan Jennings contributed a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The 49ers held a substantial 45-27 edge on the boards, but Fullerton forced LBSU into 16 turnovers.
Cal State Fullerton trailed 38-35 at the half despite shooting 50.0 percent from the floor.
The Titans lagged 19-5 at the 12:39 mark, but pieced together a 26-13 run cutting that lead to 32-31 with 3:05 to play following a Williams lay-up.
Jennings led the 49ers with 11 first-half points and LBSU held a 19-13 first-half rebounding advantage scoring eight points on CSF turnovers. The 49ers shot 57.1 percent from the floor in the first period.
The Titans have two regular season games remaining. Fullerton hosts UC Irvine at 7 p.m., Thursday at Titan Gym before traveling to Hawai'i on Saturday for the regular season finale.
Notes: Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach States split their season series…Fullerton snapped a four-game losing streak to the 49ers…Fullerton overcame a 14-point deficit in the game, the largest deficit the Titans have overcome this year…the Titans won back-to-back Big West Conference games for the first time this year...Fullerton had two 20-point scorers (Michael Williams, 28; Alex Harris 22) for the first time since Michael Williams and Alex Harris completed the same feat against UC Davis on Feb. 13, 2014…Fullerton shot a season-best 56.4 percent (31-of-55) for the game…the Titans also won their third game this season when trailing at the half...Michael Williams' 28 points marked his 28th straight game scoring in double figures and his 12th game scoring 20 points or more…Alex Harris recorded his seventh 20-point effort of the year…the Titans are 7-0 when scoring over 74 points and shooting over 50.0 percent from the floor.