Cal State Fullerton still hasn’t found a Division I basketball team it can beat this season.
Northern Arizona made six of 11 three-point shots in the first half and coasted to a 75-59 victory at Titan Gym Saturday night. It was the sixth consecutive loss for Fullerton (1-9).
The Titans’ only victory in Donny Daniels’ first season as coach came against College of Notre Dame, an NAIA team.
The latest loss left the Titans with their worst start since the 1964-65 team also started 1-9 on the way to a 1-25 season.
“I knew it was going to be tough, but I thought we would have played better at home than we have,” Daniels said.
To make matters worse, Fullerton can’t seem to get all its top players ready to go at the same time.
Brandon Campbell, a starter last season, was back Saturday after sitting out eight games because of a sprained knee. But center Matt Caldwell was sidelined because of swollen lymph nodes. He remained at home in Arizona after the team’s holiday break.
“They’re taking blood tests to try to determine what it is, but [Caldwell] won’t make our next road trip to Pacific and Long Beach State,” Daniels said.
Campbell played 23 minutes but didn’t provide much scoring help, making one of eight shots. Campbell played eight minutes in the first half and 15 minutes in the second, but didn’t make a field goal until he broke away for a layup with two minutes left in the game. He finished with four points.
Ike Harmon led Fullerton with 18 points, making seven of 14 shots from the field. Guard Ryan Dillon finished with 12 points on four three-pointers in the final six minutes.
Northern Arizona (6-5) got a strong effort from guard Adam Lopez, who made three of four three-point shots and was eight for eight on free throws to finish with 17 points.
The Titans scored only seven points in the first 10 1/2 minutes, and the Lumberjacks built an eight-point lead. Harmon drove into the lane for consecutive baskets that cut Northern Arizona’s lead to two late in the first half, but the Lumberjacks quickly regained control.
Northern Arizona scored eight points in the last 1 1/2 minutes of the first half. Cory Schwab, who finished with 12 points, scored five of them, and Lopez threw in a last-second three-pointer from 40 feet to give the Lumberjacks a 34-24 cushion.
“If you read body language of them going off the court at halftime it was, ‘That hurt,’ ” Northern Arizona Coach Mike Adras said. “It was a dagger in them.”
Daniels acknowledged that the flurry hurt. “We go from two down to 10 down that quick,” he said. “That’s the way it’s been this season.”
The Lumberjacks continued that momentum at the start of the second half, and Fullerton collapsed. The Titans scored only three points in the first 10 1/2 minutes and went 12 minutes 18 seconds without a field goal while Northern Arizona built its lead to 52-29.
“They’re a good team with good players,” Daniels said. “And we were kind of disoriented at times.”