Tigers Drop 78-73 Big West Opener At Cal State Fullerton
Fullerton, Calif. - The Pacific men's basketball dropped a tough 78-73 decision at Cal State Fullerton on Monday, Jan. 2. The Tigers fell to 4-8 and 0-1 in Big West Conference play, while the Titans improved to 10-3, 2-0 in league play.
"I thought we played a good last 10 minutes of the first half and played very well in the first 10 minutes of the second half," said head coach Bob Thomason. "They (Fullerton) made big shots when they had to and got the win."
The Tigers jumped out to a 10-6 lead after the first three minutes after a three-pointer from junior Travis Fulton. Pacific was then stuck at 10 for the next five minutes, as Cal State Fullerton used a 12-0 run to take an 18-12 lead. The Titans extended the lead to 32-18 with 9:07 to play in the half after a 14-5 run. Sophomore Khalil Kelley then scored on consecutive possessions to ignite a 13-2 Tiger run that cut the lead to 34-31 with 4:42 to play. A three-pointer by Orane Chin took CSUF's lead back to six (37-31), but the Tigers evened it up after a pair of jumpers from junior Lorenzo McCloud and a Ross Rivera basket. Fullerton pulled back ahead by five, but Fulton hit a three-pointer with one second left to make it 42-40 at the break.
Junior Markus Duran opened the second half with a three-pointer to give the Tigers their first lead (43-42) since the early moments of the first half. The game then went back and forth with a pair of lead changes and six ties over the next nine minutes. With the teams tied at 57-57, CSUF outscored the Tigers 7-1 to take 64-58 lead with 6:25 to go. Pacific responded, getting a pair of free throws from Kelley and a three-point play from McCloud to cut it to 64-63 with 4:50 to go. A three-pointer from Rivera knotted it up at 68-68 with 3:29 to play in the game. The Titans pulled ahead by three (73-70) before Rivera scored on a layup to make it 73-72 with 1:31 to play. Kwame Vaughn hit a three-pointer on CSUF's next possession to make it 76-72 with a minute to play. McCloud hit one of two free throws before D.J. Seeley sealed the win with a runner at the :14 second mark.
McCloud led the Tigers with 19 points and eight assists. Kelley added 15 points and Fulton scored 12 points with a team-best seven rebounds. Vaughn led CSUF with 21 points. The Tigers were out-shot from the field 54.0 percent to 47.4 percent, with the Titans hitting 62.5 percent in the first half. CSUF also hit a season-best 12 three-pointers.
Pacific is next in action with its first league home game on Thursday, Jan. 5 against UC Irvine. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m.