Jan. 20, 2007
Irvine, Calif. - Frank Robinson's 3-point field goal with one second to play Saturday night lifted Cal State Fullerton to a 71-68 Big West Conference victory at UC Irvine.
The win improved Fullerton's record to 14-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big West while UCI fell to 9-11, 3-3.
Bobby Brown led the Titans with 17 points and Scott Cutley had another double-double with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. Darren Fells led the Anteaters with 18 points and 10 rebounds and Chuma Awaji finished with 15 points, 12 in the second half and 7 in the final minute.
UC Irvine had overcome a 66-55 deficit at 3:30 to tie the game at 68-68 with 14 seconds left when Awaji made a driving layup. Fullerton made only 2 of 6 free throws and committed two turnovers in the final 1:40.
"We started to dissolve there at the end," said Head Coach Bob Burton. "We had a hard time guarding them.
"We like it better not calling a timeout. Our guys feel comfortable in that situation. Bobby did a good job penetrating and finding Frank and he stepped up and made the shot.
"I thought it was a great game, win or lose. Both teams were competing and were tough.
"Marcus Crenshaw did what he does for us there early in the second half We didn't know how much we could play him because they are so big. He did a great job.
"Early in the game our problems were their defense and we didn't adjust to it."
UCI controlled the first 12 minutes of the game and had its biggest lead at 23-12. The Titans made only 6 baskets in their first 20 attempts and none were from the outside until Brown got his first points of the game on a 3-pointer at 7:23 that cut UCI's lead to 23-15. Brown would score the next 8 Titan points as well before Cutley's driving layup cut the margin to 27-25 and the Titans took their first lead at 28-27 on a Burns jumper at 2:25. Ray Reed added a long jumper and the Titans took a 30-27 lead into the locker room
The lead didn't last a minute of the second half as Adam Templeton got an offensive rebound that led to two free throws and then hit a 3-pointer after a Fullerton turnover to give UCI a 32-30 advantage.
Fullerton regained the upper hand with a 5-0 run, taking a 33-32 lead on a the first of a series of free throws as UCI starters Michael Hunter and Nic Campbell each picked up a fourth personal foul. Robinson and Reed also had to come out after picking up third fouls.
Crenshaw provided a spark off the bench and Fullerton opened a double-digit lead at 57-46 with about 8 minutes to play when Andrew Green hit a jumper. It was still an 11-point lead at 66-55 when Robinson made a layup at 3:45.
But UCI began a late charge behind Fells inside and back-to-back Fullerton turnovers at 1:39 and 1:21. Brown took a charge and Cutley hit one of two free throws to make it 67-61 at 1:05 but Awaji hit a jumper at 56 seconds to make it 67-63.
Reed missed two free throws and Awaji hit a trey while falling down to make it 67-66 with 28 seconds to go. After Brown made one of two free throws, Awaji tied the game with a driving layup that set the stage for Robinson.
Fullerton made only 11 of 24 free throws in the game but made 6 of 15 from the 3-point line. UCI made 16 of 23 free throws but made only 2 of 12 treys. Fullerton outrebounded the taller Anteaters, 41-35, and committed two fewer turnovers.
Fullerton returns to Titan Gym next week, hosting UC Davis on Thursday night in a non-conference game before hosting UCI in a quick rematch on Saturday. Irvine hosts Long Beach State on Thursday night before tackling the Titans.