Vaughn Fuels Rally

Jan. 18, 2012

Box Score

Fullerton, Calif. - Kwame Vaughn scored a career-high 28 points and D. J. Seeley added 22 Wednesday night as Cal State Fullerton rallied for a 72-61 Big West Conference victory over UC Riverside.

The Titans (11-6, 3-2) snapped a 3-game losing streak and ended a 4-game win skein for UCR, which got 11 points from Robert Smith and at least from four other players.

Fullerton shot 67 percent in the second half with Vaughn making all 7 of his shots on his way to 19 second-half points. Fullerton trailed by as many as 9 points in the first half but opened the second half with a 14-3 surge that erased a 28-27 deficit. Fullerton's biggest lead was 13 points, the last time at 51-38 with 10:46 to play. The Titans got into foul trouble and the Highlanders closed within 5 points at 64-59 with 2:28 left but Seeley hit a trey that first bounced high off the rim and Omondi Amoke had a dunk around a Smith layup before Vaughn hit two free throws to ice it at 71-61 with 39 seconds left.

Fullerton got a game-high 9 rebounds from Amoke and won the backboard battle, 38-24, to offset 16 turnovers -- 11 in the first half -- to only 11 by UCR. Highlander guards Phil Martin and Kareem Nitoto combined to make only 7 of 26 shots.

"I'm so happy with the effort," said Fullerton Coach Bob Burton. "It's nice to be home after losing three in a row on the road.

"UCR is so tough and so well-coached and we knew they would hit us and they did, but we responded well. The difference was the turnovers. Not just the turnovers but the easy baskets they gave them. We quit turning it over late in the first half and that momentum carried over into the second half. We shot 37 percent in the first half and 67 percent in the second half. And when you're scoring you play better defense, which was good until the end and we couldn't get a stop."

Fullerton matched its victory total of last year's 11-20 team. The Titans played without senior reserve forward Andre Hardy, who was absent dealing with a family problem. Reserve center John Underwood also was out with a rib injury.

Fullerton plays at UC Irvine Saturday night while UCR is idle until a home game on Jan. 26 vs. Long Beach State.