January 5, 2013

Titans Race Past Matadors Behind Seeley’s Career Night

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton senior guard D.J. Seeley poured in a career-high 37 points – the most by a Big West Conference player this season – leading a trio of Titans with 20-or-more points on the night and helping lift them to a 105-86 victory over host Cal State Northridge on Saturday night at The Matadome.

Fullerton improved to 8-6 overall with the win and 2-1 in conference play while sending the Matadors to their third-consecutive defeat, dropping them to 9-6 overall and 0-3 in league action.

Seeley's big night is tied for the fifth-highest single-game scoring total in school history, matching teammate Kwame Vaughn's 37-point night against UC Santa Barbara last season and Josh Akognon's 37 points against UC Riverside in 2009. The senior hit 10-of-17 from the field, including a quartet of three-pointers, and 13-of-15 from line, surpassing his previous high of 32 set at Loyola Marymount last season and matched earlier this year against Southern Utah on Nov. 17.

"What a game for D.J.," Interim Head Coach Andy Newman said. "I was really worried about D.J. coming into this game because he played 40 minutes against Hawaii and the trip was incredible, I didn't know how he was going to respond.

"It a testament to his character and his desire to be really good because he had every excuse to play tired out there... and he came out and performed like I have never seen him play."

Vaughn added 22 points, four assists, and three steals while senior Sammy Yeager chipped in 21 points and six rebounds as the Titans featured three players with at least 20 points in a game since Seeley (27 points), Vaughn (25), and Omondi Amoke (23) accomplished the feat in a 92-84 win at UC Irvine on Jan. 21, 2012. 

The Titans, who led 50-39 at the break, shot just over 58 percent for the game and 52 percent (12-for-23) from three-point range, yet led by only eight points just over five minutes into the second half. However, Fullerton had too much offensive firepower, outscoring the Matadors, 17-7, over the next five minutes to build an 80-62 lead and the Titans never looked back.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Seeley, who scored 27 of his 37 in the second half, after Northridge had cut the deficit to 15 points pushed Fullerton's advantage to 21 points and the Titans eventually build their biggest lead of the night to 22 points with 5:21 to play. Cal State Fullerton, which hit just 6-of-11 from the free throw line two nights earlier in a two-point loss at Hawaii, hit 8-of-10 from the line in the final three-plus minutes and finished 25-of-31 (.806) from the stripe for the night.

Stephen Maxwell finished with a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Matadors, who outrebounded the Titans, 42-31, including a 22-8 advantage on the offensive glass. Stephan Hicks added 15 of his 20 points in the second half while Trevone Williams and Josh Greene each added 10 points in the loss. Northridge shot 43 percent from the floor overall, but was just 3-of-11 from three-point range, and finished with 21 more field goal attempts than Fullerton in the game.

Cal State Fullerton concludes its three-game road swing with a mid-week trip to CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday (Jan. 9) at 7 p.m. in its final non-conference clash of the year before returning to Big West play on Saturday (Jan. 12) at 6:05 p.m. against UC Riverside at Titan Gym.

NOTES: Saturday marked the third time this season that the Titans have reached 100 points (112 vs. Southern Utah on Nov. 17 and 106 vs. San Diego Christian on Nov. 23)... Seeley notched his second 30-point game of the year and his sixth game of at least 20 points... Vaughn's 22 points gave him his team-best seventh, 20-point performance while Yeager eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the third time... Seeley and Vaughn have reached double figures in all 14 games this season, extending streaks of 20 games and 17 games, respectively, dating back to last season... Fullerton has either led (11 times, 7-4 overall) or has been tied (twice, 0-2 overall) at the half in all but one game this season... the Titans have shot better than 50 percent from the field in each of their last five games and better than 43 percent from three-point range in four of the last five... Fullerton has had at least one 20-point scorer in each of the last five games... Vaughn has scored at least 20 points in each of the last three games -- the first to do so since Seeley on Feb. 25-March 3 of last season... six of the Titans' eight wins this season have come by double-digit margins.