Dec. 21, 2005
San Jose, Calif. - Bobby Brown (24 & 7), Jamaal Brown (19 & 9) and Justin Burns (14 & 8) combined for 57 points and 24 rebounds Wednesday night as Cal State Fullerton rode a strong second half to a 67-59 non-conference victory at San Jose State.
The win was a welcomed homecoming present for Head Coach Bob Burton, a San Jose native who coached at nearby West Valley Community College for 21 years. The Titans are now 5-2 on the season while the Spartans fell to 4-7 despite 14 points and 10 rebounds from Demetrius Brown.
Bobby Brown hit a 35-footer at the halftime buzzer to pull Fullerton within two points at intermission and he had six unanswered points in an 8-0 Fullerton run early in the second half that put the Titans ahead to stay at 35-30. They built the lead to as many as 14 points on two Jamaal Brown free throws at the 5:07 mark.
It started to look like a fourth large double-digit second-half lead was going to disappear this young season when the Spartans scored the next 8 points to make it a 62-56 game with 2:42 to go. But Jamaal Brown got loose inside for a layup and Bobby Brown countered a Carlton Spencer jump shot with a running bank shot to keep the lead at 8 points with 47 seconds remaining and the Spartans would get onlyone more point.
"It was two different halves for us," said Burton, who was spurned in an attempt at the San Jose State job several years ago. "I was concerned about coming out of finals and we were sluggish in the first half. But it was a great second half for us.
"Losing a big lead is always in your mind and we have practiced that situation. I thought here we go again but I also saw a different determination in our guys' faces and saw some toughness, so I had a little more confidence in them tonight.
"I've had good memories in this building. We played two state championship games here. I had so many friends and former players here tonight but in the first half it must have looked like I forgot how to coach.
"The press got us going. We did it out of necessity because we weren't playing aggressively enough. And they had a little trouble with it."
Not a single player on either team was credited with an offensive rebound in the first half despite plenty of opportunities as Fullerton made only 10 of 28 shots and San Jose State made only 11 of 31. Burns got the first putback ofthe game in the second half and the Titans ended up with a team total of 9 offensive rebounds, well below their season average of 18. Burns also held the Spartans' leading scorer Demetrius Brown to 4 of 15 shooting. Alex Elam led San Jose State with 16 points but the Spartans made only 2 of 10 3-point field goals. Menelik Barbary, who came off the bench to make all 4 of his first-half shots for San Jose State, didn't get a shot in the second half as Fullerton played primarily a zone defense.
Fullerton regained the lead in the all-time series against their former conference rivals, 25-24. It was Fullerton's first visit to San Jose State in seven years and first meeting in six years.
The Titans travel on Christmas night to Miami, Florida, for the Florida International Holiday Classic where they will play Texas San Antonio and either St. Bonaventure or host FIU. They open conference play with their first home game since Nov. 23 when they host Cal Poly SLO on Jan. 2. The Jan. 4 home game vs. UC Santa Barbara has been switched to a 2:05 p.m. tipoff to avoid a conflict with the Rose Bowl game betweeen USC and Texas.