March 11, 2010
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Anaheim, Calif. - Reserve guard Ryan Howley's layup with 1:09 to play broke a 64-64 tie and UC Davis went on to a 68-65 victory over Cal State Fullerton Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Big West Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The freshman finished with a career-high 14 points including 8 in a row for his team midway through the second half as the No. 4 seeded Aggies (14-17) overcame an 8-point halftime deficit to advance to the semifinals Saturday against No. 1-seed UC Santa Barbara.
Senior forward Gerard Anderson led the No. 5-seeded Titans with 17 points but lost the ball on a drive into the key with less than 3 seconds remaining and the Aggies clinging to a 66-65 lead. Julian Welch added two free throws with half a second left and Eric Williams' 3-point try from beyond half court bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Joe Harden led the Aggies with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Dominic Calegari, who had 28 against the Titans on Saturday night in the regular season finale, was held to 13 and guard Mark Payne failed to score after aggravating a shoulder injury and playing only 13 minutes.
After Howley's layup, Anderson made one of two free throws with 49 seconds left. He also missed one that would have put the Titans ahead 65-64 at 3:28.
"It's a hard loss to end the season," said Fullerton Coach Bob Burton. "We had an opportunity to move on in the tournament.
"They beat us three times, so obviously they are the better team. Davis really competed and made baskets when they needed.
"They got it going in the second half... our defense wasn't as good and we had some major breakdowns, which we hadn't had too many of all year.
"There's no one else I would rather have had the ball for the last shot than Gerard. That's why we didn't call time out."
"It was a tough play," said Anderson. "I tried to penetrate and ended up turning the ball over. If I had made the free throw, we probably would have gone to overtime.
"I've had a great three years at Fullerton and wouldn't change anything."
Fullerton held the Aggies to 37.5 percent shooting in the first half and led by as many as 10 points at 33-23 shortly before halftime. But the Aggies made 53 percent in the second half with going 5-for-6, mostly on backdoor cuts after the Titans had double-teamed Calegari.
The game ultimately was decided at the free-throw line. Davis finished 14-of-16, making all 9 second-half tries. Fullerton made only 10 of 17.