Jan. 3, 2009
Irvine, Calif. - A frantic second-half rally came up inches short in regulation and Cal State Fullerton dropped a 78-74 overtime decision at UC Irvine in Big West Conference action Saturday night.
Jacques Streeter's layup try and two follow shots by his teammates were unsuccessful in the final two seconds of regulation and UCI never trailed in overtime.
Brett Lauer scored 27 points - 22 in the first half - to pace the Anteaters, who won their Big West opener and improved to 3-10 overall. Freshman Eric Wise had 25 points and 8 rebounds. Fullerton fell to 6-8 and 0-2 despite 23 points by Streeter to match his season's high. Josh Akognon was held to 12 points, making only 3 of 11 shots.
UCI scored the first four points of overtime before Streeter and Lauer exchanged treys. Fullerton caught up at 71-71 on Aaron Thompson's trey at 1:37 but Michael Hunter responded with a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left. Streeter missed a shot and Anderson's follow got stuck on the rim and UCI had the possession arrow in its favor. Wise made two free throws with 15 seconds left. Marcio Lassiter made a trey with 4 seconds left but Wise made two more free throws with 3.3 seconds left.
Fullerton trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half before rallying. The Titans got within a point at 61-60 with 4:36 to go and had three chances to take the lead in the next three minutes. Streeter missed a one-and-one and Thompson missed a pair of field goal tries before Wise made a 3-point play. Akognon made two free throws at 1:17 and Streeter made a driving floater to tie the game at 64 with 25 seconds left. But after a UCI turnover on its final possession he missed a layup under duress and both Gerard Anderson and Papa Guisse couldn't tip the ball in before the buzzer.
UCI made 7 of 10 3-pointers in the first half and 2 of 4 in overtime but went 0-for-8 in the second half. Fullerton made only 8 of 23 treys.
"It was two different games," said Fullerton Coach Bob Burton. "They controlled the game for 30 minutes and then we got it going. We had a great chance to win it and it would have been an absolute great win.
"We went to a zone just to change things up and they had a hard time shooting over it. But they made shots in overtime and we didn't.
"I think every game in the Big West is going to be like this... I don't care who plays whom or where they are playing."
Fullerton jumped out to a 6-2 lead but Lauer's trey at 13:40 put UCI ahead, 13-10. The Titans' best spurt of the half was a 7-0 run that turned a 20-15 deficit into a 22-20 lead, which would prove to be their last at 9:14.
Lauer hit six of eight 3-point tries in the first half and finished with 22 points despite missing two of four free throw attempts. Fullerton was only 1 for 4 at the line in the first half and lost a bucket to basket interference.
The game ultimately was decided at the free-throw line. UCI made 15 of 21 attempts while Fullerotn wasonly 8 of 17.
The loss snapped Fullerton's 5-game winning streak vs. UC Irvine.
Fullerton remains on the road next week with televised games at Cal Poly on Thursday night (ESPNU) and at UC Santa Barbara on Saturday night (FSN Prime Ticket).