STOCKTON, Calif. – Down by five in the final minute and a half to play, Cal State Fullerton capitalized on its final scoring opportunities to come from behind and score the game-winning basket with just 13 seconds left as the Titans edged Pacific, 77-76, at the Spanos Center marking their first win over the Tigers since 2012.
"It was a great win for our ball club," Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Dedrique Taylor said. "Our guys stuck together and found a way to win. Each guy contributed tonight and fought together through adversity. I'm most proud of the fight we showed."
The Titans (1-1) were led by Tre' Coggins' 21-point performance as he was 7-for-14 from the field, 4-for-8 from three-point range and 3-for-4 from the line. He also added two assists, a rebound and a steal in the win over Pacific (0-2).
Lionheart Leslie finished the game with nine points and had the game-winning layup after a steal from Kennedy Esume gave the Titans back possession. The layup proved to be the difference as the Tigers missed a layup on the other end of the court and Esume grabbed the defensive rebound.
Esume concluded the game with three boards and Khalil Ahmad turned in a team-best five rebounds to set the tone for the Titans.
In the game, CSF held the edge in shooting (44.4-percent to 43.3-percent), but the difference was made behind the arc and from the free throw line as the Titans out-shot the Tigers 39.1-percent to 33.3-percent and 74.1-percent to 68.2-percent, respectively.
The Tigers received a strong showing from Ray Bowles who led the squad in scoring with 22 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Pacific had four double-figure scorers in T.J. Wallace (14 points), Jacob Lampkin (11 points) and David Taylor (11 points) as well as out-rebounded the Titans (41-33). However Fullerton capitalized on points off of turnovers as the Titans poured in 20 points off of the Tigers' 12 turnovers. Additionally, CSF received a lot of support from its bench as the Titans tallied 25 points off the bench.
Although Pacific started the game with an early 9-2 advantage and extended its lead to as many as 13 points on four occasions, the Titans refused to quit as they chipped away at the Tigers' lead slowly cutting the deficit to six points by halftime (45-39).
The Titans' offense awoke in the second half as Fullerton out-scored Pacific 38-31 in the frame.
Pacific pushed its lead back up to 11 twice in the second half, but the Titans fought back and evened the score at 53-53 with 13:21 remaining in the game.
Cal State Fullerton earned its first lead of the frame with 9:22 on the clock after a three-pointer from Coggins gave the Titans a 63-61 advantage. From that point on, the two teams matched each other point-for-point with the largest lead coming at 3:05 when the Tigers made it a two-possession game (76-70). Despite trailing, the Titans used the final three minutes to out-score the Tigers 7-0 and win the game.
The Titans look to bring the energy from their come-from-behind road win back home when they host San Diego on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m., in their home opener at Titan Gym.
"We are looking forward to returning home Saturday," Taylor said. "We want to keep the momentum rolling."