Cold First Half Dooms Titans in Loss to Matadors

FULLERTON, Calif. – Five Cal State Northridge players finished in double figures, including double-doubles from Josh Greene (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Stephen Maxwell (16 points, 11 rebounds), and the visiting Matadors led wire-to-wire, handing host Cal State Fullerton a 92-86 defeat on Thursday night at Titan Gym.

The loss was the Titans' (11-10 overall, 4-5 in Big West Conference play) fourth in the last five contests following a three-game winning streak, while Northridge (11-11, 2-8) won for the second time in three games after a seven-game losing skid.

Senior Kwame Vaughn finished with 28 points, including 11-of-12 from the line, to go with five rebounds and a season high-tying eight assists to pace the offense, which recovered from shooting 32 percent in the opening 20 minutes to a 60 percent clip in the second half. It was Vaughn's conference-leading ninth 20-point game of the year while marking the fourth time he has finished with double-digit makes from the line.

D.J. Seeley finished with 22 points and a team-high seven rebounds, also giving him nine games of 20-or-more points, while Sammy Yeager scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half on 8-of-14 from the field after the break after taking just one shot in the first period.

The Titans rallied to tie the score only twice at 4-4 with 16:23 to play in the first half and, again, at 9-9 two minutes later, but that would be as close as they would come. Fullerton pulled to within one possession at 17-15 with 9:15 to play on a pair from the line by Vaughn, but Northridge rallied for an 11-0 run to build a 13-point lead with just over six minutes to play and the Matadors never looked back.

Northridge led by as many as 14 points on two occasions in the first half en route to a 39-29 halftime advantage before the Titans began to chip away. A 7-0 run brought an 11-point lead down to just four points at 48-44 with 14:49 to play and Fullerton got it to three points at 61-58 with 10:38 to go, but could not find the tying score.

A tip-in by Tre Hale-Edmerson, who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, ignited a 7-0 run that grew to 16-6 over a six-minute span, giving the Matadors a 13-point lead. Northridge finished 15-for-19 from the line in the final 3:26 -- including nine of its last 10 -- to hold off a battling Titans' squad that used an 8-1 run to get back to within five points with 1:05 to play, but no closer.

The Matadors shot just over 53 percent from the field for the game to Fullerton's 48 percent and outrebounded the Titans, 47-27, for the game, including 16-7 on the offensive glass. Lonnie Watson and Brandon Perry also had 11 points to finish in double figures for Northridge, which finished with 17 assists on 33 makes and overcame 21 turnovers on the night.

Cal State Fullerton closes out its brief homestand on Saturday night (Feb. 2) at 8 p.m., as the Titans host Hawaii in their annual Homecoming game at Titan Gym. The Warriors edged UC Riverside, 72-68, thanks to a big, 40-29, second half scoring advantage on Thursday in Riverside.