Nov. 13, 2010
Honolulu, Hawai'i -
Jalin Thomas hit a 3-point field goal at the buzzer Friday night to give Central Michigan a 70-67 win over Cal State Fullerton in the Outrigger Hotel Rainbow Classic and the season opener for both teams.
Thomas, who led all scorers with 21 points, got the opportunity when Fullerton's Perry Webster was called for a charging foul with 5.3 seconds left. Trey Zeigler brought the ball up the middle of the court before passing to Thomas, who made the shot over a belatedly rushing Orane Chin.
Chin led the Titans with 17 points and 12 rebounds. William McClure had 15 rebounds for the Chippewas, who won the game on the boards (41-26) and at the foul line, making 7 of 11 while Fullerton made only 11 of 24.
Freshman Isiah Umipig tied the game at 67 with a 3-point basket 1:01 to play. The Titans forced a turnover and called a timeout with 18 seconds left to set up what they hoped would be a last shot.
"I was really proud of our team and the effort they put out, but disappointed with the loss," said Fullerton Head Coach Bob Burton. "It's obvious we failed in rebounding and shooting free throws. I think we will shoot free throws well but rebounding is a major issue.
"But we put ourselves in a position to win the game. They were able to capitalize at the end of the game and we didn't."
Devon Peltier and Umipig had 11 points and Orlando Brown chipped in with 10 for the Titans, who shot 52 percent from the floor including 8 of 15 treys. Amir Rashid had 13 points and Andre Coimbra had 12 for the Chippewas, who had 17 offensive rebounds to offset 42 percent shooting. CMU did make 9 of 17 treys.
Fullerton scored the first 4 points of the game and led the entire first half. Twice the lead was 11 points, the last at 37-26, but the Chippewas scored the last 7 points of the half to make it 37-33. Fullerton shot 57 percent the first half from the floor but was only 1-for-7 from the foul line. CMU was 7-for-7 at the line but shot only 32 percent from the floor.
CMU scored the first 8 points of the second half to complete a 15-0 run that gave it a 41-37 lead. But a 3-pointer by Brown and Peltier's layup tied the game at 43. Fullerton pulled away by as many as 6 points but saw a 56-50 lead turn into a 58-58 tie on a Thomas 3-pointer at 7:41. CMU kept going for a 63-58 lead but the Titans whittled away and finally caught up on Umipig's trey.
Fullerton faces host Hawai'I Saturday night at 7 p.m. Hawai'i time in a second-round game that will be televised on the islands on KWVE. It will be followed by Central Michigan vs. Montana State.