Nov. 24, 2009
Fullerton, Calif. - Aaron Thompson matched his career high with 22 points and Jacques Streeter added 20 points and 10 assists Tuesday night as Cal State Fullerton overcame an early 25-3 deficit to rally for an 84-73 non-conference win over New Mexico State.
Hamidu Rahman and Jahmar Young each had 19 points and Jonathan Gibson added 16 or the Aggies, who fell to 1-3. New Mexico State, a former Big West Conference member, had beaten the Titans five times in a row and saw its advantage over CSF drop to 24-8 all-time. Rahman also had 12 rebounds.
It was a game of remarkable streaks. The Aggies used a 20-0 run to build the 25-3 lead as Fullerton hit only one of its first 14 shots. But Bryce Webster's bucket at 9:15 snapped the run and ignited an 8-0 burst that got the Titans going at 25-11 with 7:30 to go in the half. After Young hit two free throws, the Titans closed the half with a 22-10 surge to get within 37-33 at the half.
Fullerton scored the first 14 points of the second half to complete a 44-12 turnaround and built its biggest lead at 62-44 with 11:42 to play.
The Aggies began a full-court press that forced turnovers and they started hitting 3-pointers -- one by Young and three by Gibson -- and they got as close as 4 points at 74-70 with 2:02 to play on Gibson's trey. Johnson scored on a 3-point play at 1:46 to make it 77-70 and the Aggies had to start fouling.
"We had a long layoff (8 days) since the UCLA game and I was nervous about the rust," said Head Coach Bob Burton. "We didn't feel comfortable and we were playing selfish and turning the ball over.
"We relaxed and started playing defense and together.
"Originally, I was glad we had a long layoff after the UCLA win. Everyone has been patting them on the back for a week.
"The biggest stat is 25 assists. We started sharing the ball.
"Our fans helped get us back into the game, too. They've been great the past couple of years."
Fullerton ended up hitting 10 of 23 from 3-point range to 7 of 35 by the Aggies. Only two other teams have ever attempted more treys against Fullerton.
Fullerton committed 11 turnover sin the second half to only three by the Aggies. But the visitors shot only 29 percent from the floor (11 of 38) in the second half.
Burton's career record is now 110-77, pushing him past Bobby Dye (109-78) and into third place on the Titans' coaches victory list. Alex Omalev was 139-176 and George McQuarn was 122-117. Burton has the best winning percentage at .588.
Fullerton is idle until Dec. 5 and 6 with games at the Stephen F. Austin Tournament in Nacogdoches, Texas, against Central Arkansas and the hosts.