Fullerton got two late chances--one expected and one not--to tie the score but missed both and lost to visiting Palomar, 86-84, in a Southern California men’s basketball playoff game Friday.
The best chance came with about 10 seconds left when guard Ben Sanders drove to the basket and passed to forward Edwin Charles, who missed a wide-open layup.
Fullerton, seeded 14th, got a reprieve when Palomar guard Jeremy Killion missed two free throws with nine seconds left. Fullerton pushed the ball upcourt and guard Anthony Steen got it in the corner but his awkward shot was well short.
“He tripped and basically was falling so he threw the shot up hoping to get a foul call,” Fullerton Coach Dieter Horton said.
Fullerton, which ends 21-10, led by 11 five minutes into the second half but foul trouble helped No. 19 Palomar rally. Forwards Charles, Matt Halverson and B.J. Smith and guard Erick Ashe all had four fouls.
“Foul trouble just killed us,” Horton said.
Ashe still managed a game-high 30 points despite having to play carefully after getting his fourth foul with 6 minutes 56 seconds left in the game. Ashe was 12 of 20 from the field, including making four of seven three-pointers.
Ashe also had the task of guarding Killion, considered one of the top guards in Southern California. Killion scored 29 points but his last points came on a three-pointer with 6:18 to play.
“I’d rather have scored two and we won,” Ashe said. “Killion is strong. He’s a good player but he had to guard me too.”
Sanders scored 18 of his 22 in the second half for Fullerton but he and Ashe were the only Hornets in double figures. Palomar had four.