After watching a sizeable second half lead dwindle and eventually disappear in the final minutes of the game, the Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team was unable to recover on Thursday night, costing the Titans a third straight defeat, 72-70.
Fullerton held a ten-point lead in the second half, but suffered from a lengthy dry spell when the team made only one field goal. An Alex Harris three-pointer with 10:59 remaining on the clock pushed the Titan lead back to six, but CSUF would hit only one shot over the next ten minutes.
This loss is the fourth straight for the Titans this year when holding a double digit lead at halftime or later. CSUF held a 43-29 advantage at the intermission.
Both teams came out very sluggish to start the game, shooting cold from the field. CSUF was shooting 41.4 percent, better than Bakersfield’s 33.3 percent. The Titans went on a 12-3 run over a three minute span to turn a one -point deficit into an eight-point lead. The Titans shot 90 percent in the last four minutes to extend their lead to 14.
The third quarter opened with the team building the lead to 15. But the Titans managed to shoot just 34.6 percent in the second half, and the Roadrunners went on runs of 7-0 and 11-3. A steal by CSUB led to another basket which gave the Roadrunners the lead at 68-66. This was their first lead since early in the first half. Bakersfield took a late lead by converting a Fullerton turnover into a go-ahead layup by Adam Young.
After the game, senior guards DJ Seeley and Kwame Vaughn were very blunt about the defeat.
“It just that complacency sets in and this our fourth game like this towards the stretch second half the momentum changed and we just can’t pull it off for some strange reason. We just have to figure it out,” said Vaughn. “The blessing is that it’s still early and we have to get back to the lab and make a few changes stick with it the biggest thing is our defense they scored 29 in the first half and 43 in the second half. It is our defense and we got outrebounded; they had 19 offensive rebounds, we just have to learn to put the petal to the medal.”
“We need to rebound and defend down the stretch and we are not doing those things to get the win and we got to get more aggressiveness and toughness we were up 43-29 and we came out a little laxed and we played not to lose and we took the foot off the gas pedal,” said Seeley.
Head Coach Andy Newman had different things to say about this game
“That before they can be a high they must be a low and that the guys will remember this game and this season. There is no quit on this team and that they are learning life lessons right now. We playing seven guys right now and hopefully we can get those guys back,” said Newman.
CSUF will play three of its next four games at Titan Gym, beginning with a match against Idaho State on Friday Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. The team had won 16 of their last 18 home games dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season prior to the loss against CSUB.
For more information, visit FullertonTitans.com.