NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team led by as many as nine-points behind a double-double by Jamar Akoh, but a 15-0 run by Cal State Northridge handed the Titans' a 75-67 loss Wednesday night at the Matadome.
Cal State Fullerton (9-14, 2-8 BWC) took a 33-28 lead into halftime, but CSUN (9-15, 4-6 BWC) tallied 47 points on 50 percent shooting in the second half to rally and hand the Titans' their eighth loss in nine games.
Akoh finished the game with his second double-double of the year after recording 12 points and 11 rebounds to go along with one block and one steal. The sophomore forward shot 46.2 percent from the field as he connected on 6-of-13 field goals in 36 minutes of action. Akoh was one of four Titans to reach double-figures in the setback.
Lionheart Leslie turned in a strong offensive performance as he led the Titans with 14 points on an impressive 75 percent shooting (6-for-8) effort. The junior guard narrowly missed a double-double of his own with nine rebounds while dishing out two assists and grabbing one steal.
The Titans' offense came mainly in the first half as they shot 46.2 percent in the frame, while their defense limited the Matadors to 33.3 percent shooting. In the first 20 minutes, Cal State Fullerton led by as many as six (32-26) after an Akoh layup.
Fullerton finished the frame with 18 points in the paint to CSUN's eight. The Titans also held the edge in points off of turnovers (10-8), second chance points (4-2) and bench points (11-6).
During the second half, the Titans pushed their lead to as many as nine (42-33) after a layup from Tre' Coggins at 16:50. Although Fullerton held the lead for most of the second half, that did not deter CSUN as the Matadors stayed within striking distance and eventually took a 54-53 lead at 6:23 on a jumper off the hands of Parks.
The final six-and-a-half minutes proved crucial as the Titans surrendered 15 unanswered points as they watched their nine-point lead disappear and turn into a nine-point deficit (73-64) with less than one minute remaining in the game.
In the second half, the Matadors shot 50 percent (13-for-26) from the field and held the Titans to 37.1 percent shooting in the frame.
CSUN finished the game shooting 41.1 percent and had four players in double-figures. Kendall Smith led the way with 18 points, while Tre Hale-Edmerson added 15 points, and Aaron Parks and Jerron Wilbut each registered 14 points.
Olalekan Ajayi cleaned up the glass with 10 rebounds, while Smith just missed a double-double with nine boards.
Cal State Fullerton wraps up its road trip Saturday, Feb. 13 at Hawai'i. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. (PT).