Offense Sputters in Quarterfinal Loss
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton's season came to a close on Thursday afternoon as the Titans suffered a 66-56 loss to Long Beach State in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament.
The Titans, the tournament's No. 6 seed, were paired with the third-seeded 49ers (15-16), and could not combat a 16-2 second-half run produced by Long Beach State that changed the game.
Fullerton ends its season under first-year head coach Dedrique Taylor with a record of 11-20.
The Titans trailed by four at the break, but junior guard Alex Harris scored Fullerton's first seven points of the second half to eliminate the deficit. Fullerton took its first lead of the game, 30-29, when Harris buried his first long-distance shot.
Minutes later, the Richmond, Calif., native, who scored a game-high 17 points, banked in a trey at the top of the arc to give Fullerton a 43-39 advantage and forcing Long Beach State to call a timeout.
After that 30-second timeout, the game dramatically changed as Fullerton's shooting turned cold and Long Beach State produced a 16-2 run that altered the landscape of the game as the 49ers led 55-45 with under six minutes to play.
Marquis Horne, who scored eight points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, was responsible for Fullerton's lone two points during LBSU's run as Fullerton shot 1-of-12 during that stretch until Josh Gentry broke the scoring drought with a bucket in the paint.
Mike Caffey led Long Beach State with a 14-point effort shooting 8-of-12 at the line while dishing four assists. Tyler Lamb added 13 points, while A.J. Spencer poured in 10 points and found seven rebounds.
Travis Hammonds chipped in 12 points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting for LBSU.
Fullerton finished the game shooting 33.3 percent (20-of-60) from the floor, while Long Beach State shot 47.7 percent (21-of-44) from the floor.
Cal State Fullerton trailed 29-25 at the half as the period closed when Williams buried a deep three-pointer just before the buzzer.
Fullerton trailed by just four despite shooting just 26.7 percent (8-of-30) from the floor in the first 20 minutes compared to Long Beach State's clip of .440.
Horne led the Titans in scoring with six points shooting 2-of-2 from three-point range, while Spencer led the 49ers with six points.
Notes: Fullerton did not get on the scoreboard until a Michael Williams' free throw with 15:20 remaining in the first as the Titans trailed 6-1…at the 14:05 mark of the first half, Fullerton made its field goal as Alex Harris converted a runner on the baseline and the Titans trailed 10-3…seniors Michael Williams, Marquis Horne and James Johnson played in their final game as Titans...Fullerton suffered its fifth straight loss at the Big West Tourney and is now 1-8 all-time against the 49ers in the tournament…Fullerton's 11 wins are the program's lowest total since the 2010-11 season (11-20)…the Titans ended the season with a record of 0-2 at neutral site games (both played at the Honda Center)…Michael Williams scored 10 points in the game, extending his double-figure scoring streak to 31 games.