Another Home Victory
Feb. 29, 2012
The Titans (20-8, 11-4) moved half a game ahead of UC Santa Barbara into second place in the Big West and logged 20 wins for only the seventh time in the program's 52-year history. Josh Greene had 19 points and Stephen Maxwell had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Matadors (7-21, 3-13), who completed their season due to ineligibility for the post-season tournament.
Fullerton shot 56 percent in the second half to gradually pull away from a 37-36 halftime lead. A 10-2 spurt turned a 68-64 lead into a 78-66 advantage with 3:57 to play. Isiah Umipig started the run with two free throws and capped it with a 3-pointer. He finished with 12 points.
Fullerton committed a season-low 8 turnovers against the typically aggressive Matadors, who lost their fourth in a row and eighth in nine games.
"It was a tough situation for them with the end of their season," said Fullerton Coach Bob Burton. 'You didn't know how they would react to that. But they play harder than anyone in the league.
"It was a good game for us because it was a struggle. Finally, we got some stops, got some rebounds and hit some threes. The key was we just let them play in the second half. In the first half we tried to manage them with plays and we only shot 36 percent.
"It was good to have Omondi (Amoke) back on the boards with 12 rebounds. Kwame gave us a terrific lift in the run and D. J. carried us all night, plus got 7 rebounds."
The first half was a see-saw affair with 5 ties and 6 lead changes. Fullerton had the biggest edge at 6 points.
Fullerton is 12-1 at home this season and 7-0 in Big West play. The Titans host first-place Long Beach State on Saturday. The 49ers will be trying to complete an unbeaten conference schedule.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Burton, "now that we got this one out of the way. The kids will be fired up for that."