In the case of Cedric Ceballos, many a player has found himself mismatched and most likely overmatched.
West Texas State didn’t have much option Wednesday night but to put players who were not much taller than 6 feet on Ceballos, the Titans’ 6-foot-7 swing player.
Ceballos had the advantage, and he took it, carrying Fullerton to an 89-74 victory in Titan Gym with 25 second-half points in a 34-point performance, two better than his career high against Weber State last season.
Ceballos made 13 of 20 shots, including two three-pointers, and added six of seven free throws.
“It was one of those nights when things were clicking,” Ceballos said.
Things were not clicking for the Titans early. Fullerton started slowly against West Texas State, missing its first six shots and not scoring a field goal for almost six minutes.
By halftime, the Titans held only a 36-33 lead--that on the strength of a three-pointer by Mark Hill before the buzzer.
But in the second half, Fullerton switched from a zone to a man defense, and pulled away.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Fullerton went ahead, 54-39, on a two-handed dunk by Ceballos off a fast-break pass from Wayne Williams. Fullerton’s lead was 17 after a 14-foot jumper off the break by Williams.
But with some of the subs in, the lead dwindled to seven with 10 minutes left, which is approximately when this thought crossed Ceballos’ mind: “I knew somebody had to put some points on the board,” he said.
From the wing, Ceballos passed to Mark Hill, and then cut across court. Hill hit him with a crosscourt pass and Ceballos hit a three-pointer. The next time down the court, Ceballos hit another three and the lead was 65-52 and safe again.
But Ceballos wasn’t through. During a six-minute period, he made 16 points--including a basket off an offensive rebound, a dunk off a no-look pass from Agee Ward, a turnaround, another follow shot, and another dunk off a rebound, this one a follow-up slam off another Titan’s missed shot.
Those mismatches against West Texas’ State’s players were nice.
“We had trouble stopping him,” West Texas State Coach Mark Adams said. “We had to guard him with 6-2 players, and he’s awfully tough.”
Of course, Ceballos had to guard them on the other end.
“He gave up a few, too,” Fullerton Coach John Sneed said.
Ceballos was able to play more on the wing Wednesday because of Ward, a 6-5 sophomore who was at power forward, getting the first start of his career.
Ward finished with six points and 10 rebounds.
“Rebounding is my game,” Ward said.
West Texas State, a Division II team that came into the game 4-0, clung closer to the Titans than Fullerton would have liked.
“I respect them. They’re a good ballclub,” Sneed said. “You’ll have to wait and see at the end of the year, but they’ll win quite a few ballgames.”
Adams said: “I’m real proud of our guys, yet very disappointed. We played poorly in the first half with 15 turnovers but were still in the game. Of course, Coach Sneed was probably saying the same thing. . . . They wore us down in the second half, on the boards and a few other things.”
Fred Rike, who had made nine of 10 three-pointers in an earlier game, was held to nine points on three three-pointers, and was slowed by foul trouble.
“We couldn’t get Rike into the game,” Adams said.
Rod Toliver led the Buffaloes with 20 points.
Hill added 18 and Wayne Williams added 16 for Fullerton (2-0).
Parada Time came with 41 seconds left in the game, for those who like to keep track of when Fullerton’s 5-6, 130-pound walk-on Tom Parada comes off the bench--the final signal of a Titan victory so far this season. To cheers louder than those for Cedric Ceballos, he made one of two free throws, scoring the first point of his career. . . . Coach John Sneed says Agee Ward is at about 80%, still regaining his conditioning after a severe ankle sprain in August. But Ward begs to differ: “I’m at 100%,” he said. “My ankle’s fine. I wish you’d quit writing that.”