The Titan men’s basketball team traveled to the Lone Star State for their final non-conference game of the season, and used a strong second half effort to defeat the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders 63-57 on Saturday.
The victory brings the Titans’ overall record back over the .500 mark at 14-13, and their conference record stands at 6-8. They also improved their away record to 6-8. The Titans currently sit in seventh in the Big West standings.
The loss was the Islanders’ third straight, dropping their record to 4-21. This is the first time the Titans have won back-to-back games since early January when they won three straight against Cal State Northridge, Cal State Bakersfield and UC Davis.
The Titans were without starting senior forward Sammy Yeager for the second consecutive game as he continues to sit with a back injury (day-to-day).
The Titans trailed at halftime 29-28 after a 9-0 run by the Islanders erased a 20-15 Titans lead with five minutes remaining. Sophomore guard Alex Harris led all scorers with nine points going into the break.
The game was tied at 40 with 10 minutes to play when the Titans went on a 12-3 run to open up their biggest lead of the game, 52-43, with 7:11 remaining. But the Islanders countered with a 14-3 run of their own to bring the game back to within two at 57-55 with 33 seconds on the clock.
The Islanders tried fouling to get back in the game, but the Titans hit clutch free throws down the stretch, four by Harris and two by senior guard Kwame Vaughn, to hold off the Islanders and escape the Dugan Wellness Center with the victory.
Vaughn scored all of his game-high 18 points in the second half and also grabbed six rebounds. Harris and senior guard D.J. Seeley also scored in double figures. Seeley finished with 16 points, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Harris finished with 13 points, four rebounds and two steals. Jelani Currie led the Islanders in scoring with 13 off the bench and Will Nelson chipped in eight points and 12 rebounds.
The Islanders shot 56.5 percent from the floor in the first half but the Titans defense clamped down in the second half and held the Islanders to only 37.5 percent shooting.
The Titans came out with the victory despite the bench being outscored 33-8 and being outshot in the game 46.8 percent to 45.2 percent. The Titans did, however, take care of the ball, turning it over only 10 times in the game, and got 15 points off of 13 Islanders turnovers.
The Titans won the rebound battle 31-29. The aggressive play by the Titans led to 28 free throw attempts but they only managed to make 19 of them.
The team will look to continue their winning streak on Thursday as they host second place University of the Pacific at Titan Gym in the second game of a doubleheader with the women’s team. The Tigers hold a 9-5 conference record and are 15-12 overall.
Tipoff for the women against UC Santa Barbara is at 5:30 p.m. and the men play at 8:05 p.m.
For more information on the men’s basketball team, upcoming schedule and regarding tickets, visit FullertonTitans.com