Remarkable Second-Half Rally Beats UCSB

Feb. 5, 2009

Box Score

Fullerton, Calif. - Josh Akognon scored 29 points and Cal State Fullerton outscored UC Santa Barbara by 29 points in the final 18 minutes Thursday night for a come-from-behind 72-65 Big West Conference men's basketball victory.

The Titans' unlikely decision ran their winning streak to four games and lifted their records to 12-10 and 6-4. UC Santa Barbara got 20 points each from Jaime Serna and Chris Devine but fell to 8-13 and 2-7 after blowing a 22-point lead.

Chris Rhymes had 11 points and Gerard Anderson had 10 to join Akognon in double figures for the Titans, who shot 57 percent in the second half including 8 of 13 3-pointers (.615). Fullerton also was clutch at the foul line, making 7 of 8 in the final 1:18 to pull away.

The Gauchos outrebounded Fullerton, 49-32 and had 22 offensive rebounds. But they made only 2 of 9 3-pointers and committed 18 turnovers.

UCSSB had a 42-23 halftime lead and expanded it to 47-25 with 17:34 to play on a jumper by Serna, whose previous career best was 11 points. Akognon hit a 3-pointer to start what became a 47-18 run to the buzzer.

The Titans first caught up at 63-63 with 2:40 to play on an Akognon 3-pointer. UCSB got a free throw from Devine but Anderson scored inside at 2:02 and Fullerton took the lead for good. Anderson added a free throw at 1:18 and Chris Rhymes hit a pair with 57 seconds left for a 4-point lead at 68-64. Devine hit one free throw at 0:51 but that would end UCSB's scoring and Jacques Streeter and Akognon combined on 4 free throws in the final 40 seconds.

UCSB dominated the first half inside with Serna and Devine combining for 23 points and 12 rebounds as UCSB won the boards, 31-14.

Fullerton is 10-0 this season when Akognon, the nation's No. 11 scorer, scores 25 points or more. Fullerton has trailed at the half in eight of its 10 Big West games but has come from behind to win four of those.