Fullerton Rolls Past UC Irvine in Big West Home Opener
FULLERTON, Calif.- Senior guard Alex Thomas poured in a career-high 22 points and junior forward Kathleen Iwuoha chipped in with 10 points and 13 rebounds, as Cal State Fullerton shot 50 percent for the game and raced past UC Irvine, 75-58 Thursday night at Titan Gym.
For the Titans (6-9, 2-0 Big West) it's now their third consecutive victory and fifth in the last six games. On the other hand, the Anteaters slide to 8-9 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
Thomas led the way for the Titans (22 points) on 8-of-14 shooting and Iwuoha recorded her second double-double of the season, 10 points and 13 rebounds, to lead four Fullerton players in double figures for the game. Tailer Butler also scored 18 points off the bench as she converted a season-high six three-pointers (6-of-11).
Jennifer Tsurumoto scored 18 points for the Anteaters in the loss. UCI had eight different players score as they shot 34.4 percent (22-for-64) from the floor.
The Titans and Anteaters each came out with good energy to start the game, as both teams traded bucket after bucket. In fact, Fullerton got a much need lifted trailing by one when Butler came off the bench and knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to put the Titans up by five, 15-10.
And while UC Irvine kept things close for the first five minutes, that was the last lead they saw up by one, as Fullerton knocked down multiple three-pointers to fuel a 14-2 over the next five-plus minute pan, to give the Titans a 23-12 lead with 10:43 remaining.
The Anteaters cut the lead back down to single digit at one point, but the Titans quickly extended its lead back up to 14 and headed into intermission leading, 39-29.
Fullerton shot 51.9 percent in the first half and knock down a first half season-high seven three-pointers (7-for-18). Thomas led the way with 15 first half points on 5-of-8 shooting, while Butler added three three-pointers and Iwuoha chipped in with 6 points and 6 boards. Tsurumoto led the way for the Anteaters with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
As the second half started the Titans quickly jumped on 6-0 run and led 45-29 with 18:38 left to play. The Titans built its lead to as high as 20 points, as they went 28-for-56 from the field for 50 percent shooting on the night. The Titans knocked down 13 three-pointers (13-for-34) compared to the Anteater's four (4-for-22).
The Titans look to stay unbeated in conference play on Saturday, January 18 at Titan Gym at 6 p.m. versus the UC Davis Aggies.
Cal State Fullerton Head Coach