Titans Hang On at UCI
Jan. 21, 2012
Irvine, Calif. - Omondi Amoke had career highs of 23 points and 17 rebounds and D. J. Seeley topped his career best with 27 points Saturday night as Cal State Fullerton won a Big West Conference shootout, 92-84.
Fullerton also got 25 points from Kwame Vaughn in improving to 12-6 and 4-2. UC Irvine got 23 points from Daman Starring and Derick Flowers had 18 for the Anteaters, who fell to 6-13 and 3-4.
Fullerton dominated the first half, 56-30, and led by as many as 30 points at 52-22. Fullerton shot 64 percent from the floor and the 3-point line (9 of 14) while UCI was shooting 39 percent. But the Titans didn't get a field goal for more than 6 minutes to open the second half and UCI got hot, totaling 54 points in the period. UCI made 10 of 16 treys after intermission and got as close as 6 points in the waning seconds.
"We couldn't play any better than we did in the first half," said Fullerton Coach Bob Burton. "We must have made at least five 'oh no' shots.
"We knew they would come back. They can really score. And when they got hot we started missing and then you start getting timid. We kept turning it over (17 for the game) and they went on a shooting spree. Any time you win is good and when you win on the road it's special.
"Amoke was a man tonight. It's what I envisioned when he played like that in practice last year. He's getting healthy (shoulder) and he was the difference."
Fullerton finished 13 of 20 from the 3-point line including 6-for-6 by Seeley and 4-of-5 by Vaughn. UCI went 14-for-31 behind the arc with Starring makinng 6-of-9 and Michael Wilder 4-of-8.
Fullerton ultimately won the game at the free-throw line, making 20 of 26 in the second half. Amoke, a 51 percent shooter on the season, made 13 of 16. He also came up one rebound shy of the Bren Center rebounding record of 18 by the Titans' Cedric Ceballos.
Irvine slowly closed the gap to open the second half as the Titans didn't get a bucket until Amoke's tip-in at 13:31 that made it a 63-45 game. The Anteaters had a run of 7-0 to get within 11 at 71-60 before Orlando Brown hit a trey for Fullerton. The next big Titan bucket was Seeley's first of the second half that put the lead back into double digits at 82-70 with 4:04 to play.
UCI got to 87-81 with a minute to go but Vaughn hit 4 of 4 free throws and Seeley made 1 of 2 to offset a 3-pointer by Flowers.
Fullerton had lost its last three road games.
"We stayed calm and relied on what we do," said Amoke. "We maintained our composure when they were hitting everything. It showed how much parity there is in the conference. Everyone can be good.
"I haven't been playing as well as I'm capable. I've been working at the free-throw line."
Seeley was playing with a bandaged shooting hand.
"I hurt it last week and jammed a knuckle against Riverside," he said. "I put up a lot of shots in practice yesterday getting used to the tape on my hand.
"We haven't had a lead like that all year, especially on the road.
"It feels good to get a road win, that's the most important thing."
Fullerton completes a stretch of six out of seven games on the road next week with contests at Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State, the latter on ESPNU.