FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton led by 18 at the half and never looked back as the Titans scored a 77-28 victory over Caltech Friday night at Titan Gym.
"It's good to get off to a good start and be 1-0 at home," said Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor. "I thought our guys played selfless basketball tonight; I thought we moved the ball exceptionally well. We're still trying to find our identity but I thought some guys stepped up with some great energy, great effort and we competed tonight which I was pleased with."
The Titans (1-0) dished out 18 assists on 28 makes and had 11 players log minutes in the victory over Caltech. Freshmen Dwight Ramos and Jackson Rowe led the charge offensively for Fullerton, scoring 15 and 12 points respectively. Kyle Allman added 11 while Lionheart Leslie and Jamal Smith led the team with seven boards apiece on a night that the Titans outrebounded their opponent, 45-28.
The Titans fell behind 3-0 after Nasser Al-Rayes drilled the Beavers' first shot of the game 24 seconds into the game, a 3-pointer. Lionheart Leslie answered with a 3-pointer of his own to tie the score 28 seconds later and the Titans never trailed again. They used a 17-5 scoring run to take a 28-12 lead, capped off by a dunk by freshman Dwight Ramos.
The snowball continued to roll for the Titans in the second half as the team ballooned the lead to 23 with 15:28 left. After Alec Andrews hit a jumper in the paint to make it 47-26, Fullerton went on a 17-0 run in a span of 6:17 to put the game away. Ramos score 11 of his 15 points in the second half while Rowe had 10, including a couple of emphatic dunks.
While the offense was solid, shooting 53.8 percent on the night, it was Fullerton's defense that limited the Beavers to just 12-for-55 shooting from the field and 18.2 percent from beyond the arc. Al-Rayes led the Beavers with 17 points on 7-for-16 shooting. The rest of the team combined to go 5-for-39 from the field for the game with only Andrews (seven points) and Ricky Galliani (four points) scoring for Caltech.
"I'm still disgruntled that the big fella got 17 points," Taylor said. "But to our team's credit, they did a good job of executing the game plan and that team tonight; they're a prolific shooting team and I thought we did an excellent job of executing our game plan of taking them out of their rhythm shots."
Fullerton will host Portland State on Sunday afternoon at Titan Gym with tipoff set for 4 p.m. The Vikings fell to Arizona State, 88-70, in their season opener in Tempe, Ariz. on Friday night.
Notes: Friday night's 49-point victory was Fullerton's third largest win in a regular season and home opener in school history. The Titans defeated Cal Maritime 108-56 in the 2006-07 season opener and, more recently, beat Redlands 118-68 in 2012-13, the last time the Titans opened the regular season at home… This is the 13th straight victory for Fullerton in a regular season home opener… Freshman Davon Clare scored seven points and led the Titans with four assists and three blocked shots… Freshman Austen Awosika led the team with three of the Fullerton's 10 steals on the night… Of the 11 players that took the court for Fullerton, 10 of them logged double-digit minutes… Tre' Coggins did not play due to an injury. He is day-to-day.