Holmes Lifts Fullerton to Overtime Victory

The last thing the depleted Cal State Fullerton lineup needed Wednesday against visiting UC Irvine was a second consecutive overtime game.

But that's what the Titans got and they rallied to take their second consecutive Big West Conference victory.

Guard Ralphy Holmes was fouled while banking in a running 15-foot shot with three-tenths of a second remaining in overtime, then lipped in the foul shot to give the Titans a 66-65 victory.

On Saturday, the Titans (4-8, 2-1 in conference) took a 57-55 overtime victory at UC Santa Barbara. But Holmes, who finished with a team-high 23 points Wednesday, said this victory was sweeter.

"We're better than our record indicates," he said. "Most of those games we lost, we beat ourselves. Now we can build on this."

Fullerton was playing with several players who were not at full strength and without four others who did not suit up, including 6-foot-10 center Pape Sow. He was suspended from the team Dec. 17 after he was arrested for petty theft. Sow pleaded guilty last week and met with a three-person university hearing board Wednesday afternoon in hopes of getting his suspension lifted. But a Fullerton spokesman said that the board told Sow that it would notify him in writing of its decision within five days.

The Titans outscored Irvine, 13-0, midway through the second half and held a 46-34 lead, but Irvine (7-4, 1-1) caught Fullerton, 57-57, with seven seconds left.

With Irvine ahead, 65-63, with 5.7 seconds remaining in overtime, Fullerton's Anthony Bolton rebounded a missed free throw and passed to Holmes, who was fouled by Mike Efevberha.

-- Paul McLeod

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