Dec. 22, 2008
Fullerton, Calif. - Senior Josh Akognon erupted for 25 of his game-high 29 points in the second half Monday to help Cal State Fullerton pull away to an 88-80 non-conference victory over Montana State.
Freshman point guard Jacques Streeter added a season-high 23 points as the Titans avenged a 74-60 loss at Montana State on Dec. 9 to even their record at 6-6.
The Bobcats fell to 5-5 despite having four players in double figures led by Erik Rush with 20 points.
Akognon, the nation's third leading scorer coming in at 25.5 points per game, hit only 2 of 7 shots in the first half and was burdened with three fouls. After missing his first shot of the second half, he hit a pair of 3-pointers 50 seconds apart to put Fullerton ahead for good at 41-35. He totaled six in nine tries in a span of 6:23 and the Titans had a 62-47 lead with 11:11 to play.
Akognon hit a seventh trey to match his career one-game high. Fullerton finished 14-for-30 from the arc, one shy of the school record of 15, with Streeter making 5 of 8.
Montana State committed 24 turnovers to help negate its 37-19 edge in rebounds. Center Divaldo Mbunga had a game-high 10 rebounds for MSU and made all seven shots on his way to 15 points.
Montana State jumped out to a 6-0 lead which would be its biggest. The Titans caught up at 8 and then used a 9-0 run for a 19-10 lead with 8:22 remaining in a first half that saw both teams struggle offensively, combining for 26 turnovers -- 16 by the visitors.
Fullerton went to the locker room with a 33-26 lead but for the fourth game in a row came out slowly after intermission. Montana State used a 9-2 surge capped by Erik Rush's bucket at 17:57 to tie the game at 35. That's when Akognon took over and fueled a 27-10 Titans' surge.
The Bobcats got within 9 points at 71-62 on two Rush free throws at 4:21 but Papa Guisse hit a baseline jumper and Akognon hit his final three for a 76-62 lead at 3:33.
Howard made 4 of 7 3-pointers for the visitors but committed 6 of his team's turnovers to go with 7 rebounds.
Fullerton opens Big West Conference play Monday night at home vs. Cal State Northridge. Montana State visits Utah Valley on Sunday.