FULLERTON, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team took an early 2-0 lead and spent the rest of the game trying to come back from trailing Cal Poly, but the Titans' rally came up short as they fell 83-75 Saturday evening at Titan Gym.
Fullerton (8-10, 1-4 BWC) was led offensively by freshman Khalil Ahmad and redshirt junior Tre' Coggins as the pair each recorded a 20-point performance. Ahamd registered 23 points on 8-for-20 shooting, while Coggins logged 21 points as he was 5-for-16 from the field.
Additionally, Cal State Fullerton out-shot Cal Poly (8-10, 2-3 BWC) as well as round rebounded the Mustangs (42-29) and held the edge in points in the paint (26-20). However, Cal Poly capitalized on its three-point game as it out-shot Fullerton 41.7 percent to 29.4 percent from long distance and took advantage of the Titans' 12 turnover as they out-scored the hosts 13-2 in points off of turnovers.
"I'm disappointed in the loss," Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor said. "We had some opportunities to win the basketball game, but we came up short. You have to credit Cal Poly; they played their game plan. They turned us over and executed on their opportunities. They did not turn the basketball over. I'm very disappointed."
Cal Poly finished the game with four double-figure scorers which were led by Reese Morgan who had 17 points in the contest. Luke Meikle and David Nwaba each posted 13 points, while Ridge Shipley recorded 12.
The Titans got on the board first courtesy of a jumper from Kennedy Esume to give Fullerton an early 2-0 lead. That would be the Titans' only lead of the contest as the Mustangs countered 30 seconds later with a three from Shipley and never looked back.
Despite the Mustangs' lead in the game, the Titans stayed within striking distance as they went into halftime down by just two (37-35).
After 20 minutes of action, Ahmad had 10 points, while Coggins had nine. The duo combined for 54 percent of the Titans' first half points, while Malcolm Henderson added five and Jamar Akoh contributed four. Henderson and Akoh would finish the game with eight and six points, respectively.
The second half began much like the first – a close game which Cal Poly held a slight edge. However, by 14:20, the Mustangs opened up an eight-point advantage (49-41) forcing Cal State Fullerton to take a timeout.
Fullerton began chipping away at Cal Poly's lead and managed to make it a five-point game (55-50) at the 11-minute mark after Ahmad hit a jumper. The Titans made it an even closer contest at 6:32 after Coggins sunk a pair of free throws.
But that was as close as the Titans would get. The Mustangs took a 70-63 lead with just two minutes left to play forcing Cal State Fullerton to being playing the foul game. In that final stretch, Cal Poly led by as many as 11 (77-66) before defeating Cal State Fullerton by eight.
After having dropped their last four contests, Cal State Fullerton is looking to turn things around at UC Davis on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Live stats will be available on FullertonTitans.com.