CEDAR CITY, Utah – Tre' Coggins and Khalil Ahmad both turned in career-high 20-plus point performances as the duo helped lead Cal State Fullerton past Southern Utah, 80-66, at Centrum Arena Tuesday night.
Cal State Fullerton has won three games in a row as the Titans improve to 3-1 on the year, while Southern Utah drops to 0-4 as the Thunderbirds continue to search for their first victory of the season.
Coggins led both teams with 25 points as he connected on 7-of-14 field goals to shoot 50-percent from the floor. The redshirt junior was 5-of-9 from beyond the arc for a 55.6-percentage and 6-of-9 from the line (66.7-percent). He also added seven rebounds and one steal in the contest.
Ahmad, a freshman guard out of Corona, Calif., turned in his first collegiate 20-point effort as he poured in 22 points on a sizzling shooting percentage of 70 (7-of-10). He was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range and sunk 4-of-5 free throws in 23 minutes of action. Ahmad also contributed four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Adding to the Titans' scoring offense was Malcolm Brooks who recorded his fourth double-digit showing in as many games. The redshirt senior out of Brooklyn, N.Y., tallied 11 points to go along with two boards and a pair of assists.
Defensively, Fullerton was led by Kennedy Esume's eight rebounds and Lionheart Leslie's two steals. Sheldon Blackwell posted a pair of blocks to help keep the Thunderbirds to a 34.8-percentage from the field.
Southern Utah had three double-figure scorers as well in James McGee (18 points), Travon Langston (17 points) and Casey Oliverson (16 points). The trio contributed to 77-percent of the Thunderbirds' scoring in the game. Langston also posted 10 rebounds for a double-double.
The Titans got things going early as they jumped out to a 10-point lead (14-4) in the first eight minutes of action. Cal State Fullerton held the lead throughout the game and only allowed Southern Utah to tie the score on two occasions, both of which came in the first half. The final tie came at 1:36 in the frame, but didn't last long as Coggins hit a three to give the Titans back the lead. Going into halftime, CSF led SUU by eight points, 28-20.
Following the break in action, the Titans continued right where they left off and pushed their lead to 11 (31-20) at 18:40. However, Southern Utah chipped away at the lead and cut its deficit to one (31-30), but Brooks countered with a layup which sparked a 9-1 run for the Titans. Although the Thunderbirds would come within two points several more times in the half, Fullerton continued to surge ahead.
With Fullerton leading by nine (64-55) with just under two minutes to play, the Thunderbirds began fouling the Titans in order to regain possession. However, Cal State Fullerton shot 80-percent from the free throw line in the frame as the Titans connected on 21-of-26 shots. In the final minute and a half, the Titans made 14-of-16 free throws (87.5-percent) to seal the game and win by a 14-point margin.
Cal State Fullerton returns to Titan Gym to host Nevada on Saturday, Nov. 28. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. Live stats, video and audio will be available on FullertonTitans.com.