CS Fullerton Scares UNLV Before Falling in Final Seconds, 66-63

Times Staff Writer

With 15 seconds left, Greg Anthony committed the turnover that allowed Cal State Fullerton to tie the score against Nevada Las Vegas.

But with time running out, Anthony launched a 3-point shot from beyond the top of the key and banked it in, giving 10th-ranked UNLV a 66-63 victory over the Titans Monday in front of 18,405 in the Thomas and Mack Center.

After Anthony’s shot with 3 seconds left, the stunned Titans, with no timeouts left, could only watch the celebration unfold.

“I would have felt better to lose by more than to tie it and then lose on a fluke,” said Fullerton’s Derek Jones.


UNLV, which had led by as many as 14, had a 63-60 lead and the ball underneath Fullerton’s basket with 15 seconds left.

With Fullerton pressuring the inbounds pass, David Butler, who led UNLV with 16 points, called a timeout. On the next attempt to inbound the ball, Butler lobbed a pass toward the lane for Anthony, who leaped, and, falling forward, knocked it out of bounds.

That gave Fullerton the ball, and Cedric Ceballos knocked down a 3-pointer to tie it.

Then came Anthony’s drive upcourt to the top of the key, where he gave UNLV its 13th victory and its 10th in a row.

Fullerton (5-8 overall, 0-4 in the Big West) lost its seventh in a row.

Fullerton had trailed, 63-58, with 48 seconds left. Mark Hill tried a 3-pointer and missed, but the Titans got the ball back. Wayne Williams tried for 3 and missed, but once more the Titans got the ball back. Ceballos, fouled by Stacey Augmon in a scramble, hit 2 free throws.

For UNLV, it was the second close call in a row. The Rebels didn’t pull away until the final 3 minutes in an 83-77 victory over Fresno State last week.

“I am very disappointed in the effort we gave. I told the team that,” UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian said. “Maybe we are just not very good. . . . I am just very disappointed.”

Despite committing 20 turnovers and making only 6 of 22 shots, Fullerton led for a time in the first half, going up by no more than 4. The Titans’ last lead was 20-17.

UNLV’s Anderson Hunt hit a 3-pointer, then came up with a steal off a double team of Williams. Hunt, fouled as he attempted a layup, hit 2 free throws for a 2-point lead, 22-20.

Clint Rossum pulled up for a jumper from the foul line for a 4-point UNLV lead. And so it went. UNLV ran off 15 unanswered points, taking a 32-20 lead.

Williams, fouled on a drive at the buzzer, hit 2 free throws to trim the lead to 32-22 at halftime.

In the second half, UNLV, building on that lead, went ahead by 14 with 10 minutes to play.

But the Titans closed again. Ceballos, who finished with 31, hit a 3-pointer that cut it to 6 points, 53-47. Augmon made 1 of 2 free throws.

Ceballos was fouled on a drive, and knocked down both free throws. But then Butler came back with a half-hook that made the lead 7 again.

Fullerton cut it to 5 once more. Then, with the Titans trailing by 7, Ceballos was called for traveling. Augmon hit a 3-point shot, putting UNLV ahead, 61-51, with 4 minutes left.

Once again, Fullerton trimmed it. This time, Hill hit a jumper from the foul line that made it 61-56, Ceballos dunked off an assist from Williams that made it 61-58. Then came the drama of the final minute.

Fullerton Coach John Sneed said: “Many players could surrender and give up at this time of year, and to come into a place like the Thomas and Mack and get the effort out of the players we got tonight--I am extremely proud of them.”