Dec. 29, 2007
Moraga, Calif. - Diamon Simpson scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Saint Mary's to a 69-59 victory over Cal State Fullerton Saturday night for the championship of the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic in Moraga.
Ian O'Leary had 14 points and Yusef Smith and Tron Smith scored 10 each for the Gaels, who are now 12-1 and have won all five of their own holiday tournaments.
Fullerton had a 37-35 lead after a see-saw first half. The Titans were up 44-41 with about 16 minutes to play and then quit scoring. Fifteen minutes later they had only 53 points and the Gaels had taken a 10-point lead. Fullerton finished with its lowest scoring half of the season -- 22 points -- as they made only 9 of 35 shots.
Fullerton, which set a school record by hitting 15 of 30 treys in a win on Friday night over Furman, made 5 of 10 in the first half but only 1 of 11 after intermission.
"Despite the loss, I thought it was our best overall effort of the year," said CSF Head Coach Bob Burton. "It's the first time all year our defense was outstanding for 40 minutes, but our offense let us down.
"I'm really proud of our effort in a hard environment. It was a great gamefor us to play although we I'm disappointed because we came to win."
Marcus Morgan had 11 rebounds and Akognon had a career-high with 9 as the Titans battled the much taller Gaels even on the backboards, 45-45, and commtted only 12 turnovers to the hosts' 16. But the Gaels shot 44 percent overall and outscored Fullerton at the foul line, 14-5.
The Titans open Big West Conference play at home Friday night against UC Irvine. Saint Mary's travels to Texas next weekend to meet the Longhorns.