March 8, 2006
Anaheim, Caif. - Justin Burns had a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds and Bobby Brown added 17 points including two critical 3-pointers Wednesday night as Cal State Fullerton hung on to beat Cal State Northridge, 73-63, in the opening round of the Big West Conference Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The No. 6-seeded Titans (16-12) advance to play Thursday night against No. 3-seeded Long Beach State, which swept Fullerton in two games this season. Game time is 6 p.m. No. 7-seeded Northridge got 16 points from Mike Efevberha but ends its season at 11-17 including three losses to Fullerton.
Jamaal Brown had 18 points, Frank Robinson had 11 and Jermaine Harper had 8 as the Fullerton starers scored all 73 points. Jonathan Heard with 14 and Rob Haynes with 11 also were in double figures for CSUN.
Burns had a double-double in the first half with 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Titans opened a 35-23 lead. They opened the second half with a 13-4 burst for their biggest lead of the game at 48-27 with 16:03 to play.
But the Matadors methodically came back, fueled in part by a switch to a 1-3-1 trapping defense. They outscored the Titans 19-4 to get within 6 points at 52-46 on a Heard bucket at 7:50. But Bobby Brown responded with a 3-pointer for Fullerton's first field goal in almost 7 minutes. Haynes hit a trey to get the margin back to 6 but Brown countered with another three at 6:58 and then a layup by Burns and two dunks by Frank Robinson boosted the lead to 66-51.
"It was a great game for us," said Fullerton Head Coach Bob Burton. "We played good pressure defense and helped out.
"We lost a lead and then answered it and I felt good about that."
"The threes were really big for us," said Bobby Brown. "They gave us some momentum to get back on defense and get some stops. Our defense won the game for us. Frank's dunks gave us even more momentum."
Burns had his sixth double-double of the season and has averaged 19.7 points over the past three games.
"We're excited to move on and play Long Beach again," said Burton. "They are playing better than anyone in the league. We'll have to play our best game all year to beat them. Our pressure defense which has helped us win six of our last eight won't work so well against them because they like to penetrate. They area tough match up."