FULLERTON, Calif. – A trio of Titans reached double-figures for the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team, but UC Riverside took advantage of 14 turnovers which led to 20 points to come back and defeat the Titans, 81-71, Saturday night at Fullerton's Homecoming game.
Cal State Fullerton (8-12, 1-6 BWC) led throughout the first 25 minutes and UC Riverside (13-11, 4-4 BWC) did not claim its first lead of the game until the second half as the Titans watched their nine-point lead turn into a 15-point deficit.
"We got beat by a very good basketball team," Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor said. "We played a good 25 minutes and had a strong first half, but turnovers made a big difference. Riverside's game plan was very successful. They came in and took this basketball game from us."
Taylor Johns led the Highlanders with 22 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. UCR's Jaylen Bland also reached the 20-point plateau with an even 20, while Robert Bozeman added 15 and Secean Johnson posted 13.
The Titans were led offensively by Tre' Coggins and Jamar Akoh who each recorded 13 points. Rounding out the double-figure scorers for CSF was Kyle Allman Jr., who notched 10 for his third double-digit effort of the year.
Akoh and Malcolm Henderson cleaned up the glass with seven rebounds each, while Khalil Ahmad pulled down six. Akoh had an all around solid game as he dished out a career-high five assists to lead both teams.
Cal State Fullerton started the game out with a balanced attack as the Titans jumped out in front to an early 9-0 lead highlighted by seven-straight points from Allman. However, the Highlanders battled back to even the score at 9-all. Despite the tie, CSF would not allow UCR to take the lead as the Titans fired back by going on a 9-0 run sparked by layup from Malcolm Brooks.
The Titans would go on to take a 31-27 lead into the locker room at halftime after having shot 48.1 percent from the field, while holding the Highlanders to 38.5 percent shooting.
After 20 minutes of action, the Titans were out-rebounding the Highlanders 20-10 as Akoh had four boards, while Allman and Henderson added three apiece.
Fullerton would push its lead to six (35-29) early in the second half, but Riverside would chip away and eventually take its first lead of the game on a layup by Menno Dijkstra at 15:25. The Titans countered quickly with a trey off the hands of Brooks to regain the lead, but the lead would not last long as the Highlanders took a 44-41 advantage at 12:31 off a three from Malik Thames. From there, UC Riverside would extend its lead to as many as 15 on three occasions before holding off Cal State Fullerton, 81-71.
The Titans look to snap their six-game losing streak Thursday, Feb. 4 when they host UC Davis at 7 p.m. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN3.