FULLERTON, Calif. - Pacific's bench scored a season-high 45 points, including a career-high 17 by K.J. Smith, but Cal State Fullerton overcame a 20-point, second-half deficit to win late 78-77 Saturday evening in Titan Gym. The Tigers' bench has outscored the opponent's in six of seven games this season.
Tre' Coggins and Lionheart Leslie each scored 21 points for the Titans. Kyle Allman added 12. Cal State Fullerton (3-5) shot 22-of-33 from the free throw line, including 17-of-25 after halftime.
For the second Pacific (3-4) game this season, Ray Bowles tied a career-high in points with 22 to lead all scorers. Bowles also tallied 22 in last season's affair against the Titans. Jack Williams added 12 points. D.J. Ursery narrowly missed a double-double, scoring eight points while pulling down a career-high nine boards.
Smith and David Taylor each dished out a game-high four assists, as the Tigers recorded a season-high 14.
The Titans finished 52.9 percent (27-of-51) shooting but just 2-of-14 from deep and failed to connect on their first trey until the 17:17 mark of the second half.
The Tigers shot a season-best 50 percent (26-of-52) from the field, including 54.5 percent (12-of-22) after the break, and beyond the arc, hitting 5-of-10, extending the streak of games with at least one made 3-pointer to 892. Pacific was 21-of-28 from the free throw line and has attempted at least 28 in six of seven games this year.
Pacific outscored Cal State Fullerton 40-26 in the paint. The Tiger reserves were plus-22 in the scoring column compared to the Titans.
Pacific made eight of its first 10 shots in the second half to stretch an 11-point halftime edge to 20 nine minutes into the period following a Smith layup.
Cal State Fullerton countered with an 16-3 run to trim Tigers' lead to six following an old-fashioned 3-point play by Coggins at the 6:17 mark. Smith made two free throws to extend his team's lead to 65-57, but the Titans outscored the Orange and Black 17-8 over the next 4:03 and took their first lead since the 15:17 mark of the first half when Allman drove to the basket for a layup.
Five of the game's eight lead changes took place in the final 1:59. The Tigers regained the lead 13 seconds after Allman's bucket on Smith's sixth and seventh makes from the charity stripe. Lionheart connected on a jumper in the paint with 1:26 to play. Following Pacific's last timeout of the night, Bowles drove to the basket for a layup with 10.7 seconds remaining that put his team ahead 77-76. Cal State Fullerton then spent its final timeout, and Lionheart drove to the basket but was fouled in the lane with 3.1 seconds left. He sank two free throws, and a Smith desperation heave from half court missed the mark.
The Tigers put together a 6-0 run to take its first lead, 8-6, in the early going. After starting 2-of-7 from the field, Pacific made five of its next six.
Bowles canned a 3 to give Pacific an eight-point advantage which stretched to 11 at 40-29 following a halfcourt runner by Smith as time expired.
The Tigers shot 8-of-10 from the line in the first half. Seven different Tigers found the back of the net in the period.
Pacific shot 46.7 percent (14-of-30) from the field in the first 20 minutes and 4-of-7 from deep. Cal State Fullerton shot 48.0 percent (12-of-25) but 0-of-5 from 3-point range.
Pacific travels to UMass on Thursday. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. PT.