DAVIS, Calif. – Khalil Ahmad and Lionheart Leslie recorded career-highs and Jamar Akoh notched a double-double, but the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team could not come up with a win at UC Davis Wednesday night as the Titans dropped a 69-64 decision to the Aggies at The Pavilion.
The Titans (8-11, 1-5 BWC) have now lost five games in a row, while the Aggies (8-11, 3-3 BWC) have won three of their last four contests.
Despite the Titans' struggles, Ahmad has been on fire shooting 40.9 percent and averaging 20.2 points per game in Big West action. At UC Davis, the freshman from Corona, Calif., recorded a career-best 27 points on 50 percent shooting (7-for-14) from the field. He was 2-for-5 from long distance and 11-for-12 from the free throw line. Ahmad also added six rebounds, two assists and one block in the contest.
Ahmad set the offensive tone as Leslie and Akoh also recorded double-figures. Leslie's career-high came in the form of 18 points, while Akoh recorded his first double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. His 14 points is also a career-high.
While Cal State Fullerton saw several players register career numbers, UC Davis had four players notch double-figures in Josh Fox (19 points), Siler Schneider (15 points), Darius Graham (13 points) and Brynton Lemar (12 points).
The Aggies capitalized on points off of turnovers taking advantage of the Titans' 16 turnovers. They also gained ground with a strong second half in which they out-shot Fullerton 43.8 percent to 35.3 percent to outscore the visitors 34-27.
The game was very much a back and forth affair as the conference foes fought through four lead changes and five ties.
The first half saw the Aggies take a 22-12 lead by 11:27, but the Titans scored 10 straight points to even the score at 22-22 with 7:47 remaining. Cal State Fullerton took the lead on a three from Leslie before pushing its lead to five (29-24) with less than five minutes to play in the half.
The Titans took a 37-35 lead into halftime marking just the fifth game of the season in which they led at the break. It was the first time Fullerton held a halftime lead in conference action this season.
After 20 minutes of action, Cal State Fullerton was shooting 54.2 percent from the field, while the Aggies shot 45.2 percent. Ahamd had 16 points, while Leslie had 13. For UC Davis, Fox and Schneider were in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Kennedy Esume gave Fullerton its largest lead of the game with a dunk in the second half as the Titans went up 44-37. Their lead would not last, though. UC Davis managed to knot the game at 47-47 at 11:14 on a jumper off the hands of Fox. That would be the last tie of the game.
UC Davis's Schneider hit a jumper to give the Aggies a lead they would not relinquish at 10:04. The Aggies pushed their lead back up to 10 (58-48) at 7:03, but the Titans refused to quit and made it a one-possession game (62-59) with just 1:42 left in the game.
As the clock ticked, the Aggies took advantage of a turnover and pushed their lead back up to eight (67-59) with just 37 seconds remaining. Unable to come any closer than three points in the final minute and a half, the Titans fell by five (69-64).
Cal State Fullerton returns home to face UC Riverside on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. The contest is Homecoming for the Titans and will be televised on ESPN3.