SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – After overcoming a 16-point deficit in the first half, Cal State Fullerton fell just short of a road win at Cal Poly, as the Mustangs edged the Titans, 69-65, at Mott Athletic Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Thursday night.
To start the game the Titans found themselves in a hole as a 1-for-12 start from the field allowed the Mustangs to jump out to a 16-point advantage, 19-3, with 12:44 left in the first half. However, Fullerton answered back with a 20-6 run over the final nine minutes of the half to bring the Titans back within two, 32-30, at the half. After trading buckets in the second half, Cal Poly was able to outlast the Titans over the final four minutes, eventually giving the Mustangs the win, 69-65.
Fullerton (6-11, 2-2 Big West) was led by senior guard Alex Thomas who poured in 19 points and grabbed five rebounds, while junior guard Chante Miles scored 16 points and dished out seven assists in the loss. Redshirt-sophomore Hailey King contributed 13 points and all of her points were scored in the second half.
The Mustangs (10-8, 4-1) had four players in double figures as senior Nwamaka Ofodu scored a career-high 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting and senior Jonae Ervin added 17 points. Senior Molly Schlemer and junior Taryn Garza each contributed 12 points, while Schlemer also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
The Titans started the game off 1-for-12 from the floor, which allowed Cal Poly to open up an 11-2 lead over the first four minutes of the game. Cal Poly then stretched their lead to as many as 16, 19-3, with 12:44 remaining in the half behind seven Ofodu points.
However, after beginning the game with only two field goals over the first eight minutes, the Titans began to heat up and over the next eight minutes Fullerton cut the Cal Poly lead down to single digits. The Titans then continued its scoring run behind 11 Miles points and closed the half on a 20-6 run to enter intermission trailing by two, 32-30.
After opening up the game 1-for-12, The Titans ended the half shooting 35 percent from the floor and knocked down five three-pointers (5-for-17), while the Mustangs converted 41 percent of their shots.
As the second half got underway Miles helped the Titans tie the game up at 36 after a mid-range jumper, but Cal Poly quickly went on 8-0 run to extend its lead to 44-36 with less than 15 minutes remaining. After a timeout, King and Butler helped the Titans get back into it as each knocked down a three-pointer to cut the Mustang lead down to 44-42.
Fullerton was finally able to grab its first lead of the game, 55-54, with 9:10 left after Thomas connected on a long three-pointer. However, over the final 4:17 of the game the Titans were only able to record two field goals allowing Cal Poly to regain control of the lead. In the final minute of the game, Ervin knocked down multiple free throws and the Mustangs held on to win the game.
The Titans continue their central California road trip Saturday, January 25 as they travel to Santa Barbara, Calif. to take on the UCSB Gauchos at 2 p.m.
Notes: Tonight's meeting marks the 49th all-time meeting between the two schools… the Titans move to 25-24 all-time versus the Mustangs and Cal Poly improves to 3-21 all-time against Fullerton in Big West play… Cal Poly has won the last nine contests against Cal State Fullerton… Miles has scored double figures in 16 out of 17 games this season.