Titans are hot shots

FULLERTON — All that was missing was a red, white and blue ball.

The eye-catching leather gimmick used once by the American Basketball Assn., which invented the three-pointer, would not have been out of place at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, where the host Titans outgunned Big West Conference and Orange County rival UC Irvine, 100-94.

The Titans (16-7, 8-3 in conference) shot 60% from three-point range (converting nine of 15 attempts, including five of seven after halftime) and finished 30 of 56 from the field (53.6%) to claim their sixth victory in their last seven games. Fullerton was also 31 of 35 from the foul line to improve to 10-1 at home and continue to leave an indelible impression on the Anteaters.

Fullerton shot 51% from the field and 65% from beyond the arc in a 92-84 win at UCI on Jan. 21.

The Titans, who lead the conference in scoring and three-point percentage, bolstered that reputation against UCI. In the two combined games, Coach Bob Burton's bombers made 22 of 35 three-point attempts (62.9%). Included in that was junior D.J. Seeley sinking all 10 of his combined three-point attempts. In addition, Fullerton junior guard Kwame Vaughn was a combined six for eight from threedom against the 'Eaters.

Such impressive shooting was enough to submerge a supreme effort by UCI (9-15, 5-6), which made 33 of 61 field-goal tries (54.1%), including nine of 20 beyond the arc. The visitors, who came in 3-1 in conference road games, also made 19 of 22 from the foul line and with 13 turnovers, had two fewer than the Titans, who have scored 199 points in their last two games.

UCI drained six of its first eight three-pointers to seize a 26-17 advantage midway through the opening half. By relentlessly attacking the rim, the 'Eaters built a 47-32 edge, before the Titans scored the final eight of the half to cut the deficit to seven.

UCI kept the lead until Vaughn made a three-point play with 10:27 left to put the hosts up, 66-65.

A layup by freshman Will Davis (20 points on 10-of-15 shooting) put UCI back on top 19 seconds later, but a three-pointer by Seeley with 10:00 left put the hosts up for good.

Davis and junior guard Daman Starring propelled the visitors. Starring, who had a career-high 23 points in the first Cal State Fullerton meeting this season, tallied 22 this time, converting eight of 11 from the field, including both of this three-point tries.

Junior forward Adam Folker (11 points), sophomore Chris McNealy (10) and junior point guard Derick Flowers (10) rounded out five Anteaters in double figures, while junior Mike Wilder added nine points.

Flowers had six assists, while Davis and Folker shared the team lead with six rebounds. Davis added two assists and two blocked shots.

But Seeley had 27 points, followed by Vaughn's 25 to help overcome the loss of fellow junior transfer Omondi Amoke, who missed the game with a sprained ankle. Seeley and Vaughn had 54 and 49 combined points in the two games against Irvine.

"We played hard and we did shoot the ball better," UCI Coach Russell Turner said. "But we weren't able to make the tough stops to win this game. We've done that on the road, and I thought we could do that again tonight. We weren't able to do that and that's credit to Fullerton. [The Titans] were really good, especially their two main guys, Seeley and Vaughn."

The 100 points were the most allowed by UCI this season and marked the second time Fullerton hit triple digits this season.


Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5


Big West Conference

Cal State Fullerton 100, UC Irvine 94

UCI – Wilder 9, Folker 11, Starring 22, McNealy 10, Flowers 10, Davis 20, Woods 7, Best 5.

3-pt. goals – Wilder 3, Starring 2, McNealy 2, Woods 1, Best 1.

Fouled out – McNealy.

Technicals – None.

CSF – Chin 17, Underwood 0, Seeley 27, Vaughn 24, Umipig 11, Martin 14, Webster 5, Brown 2.

3-pt. goals – Seeley 4, Vaughn 2, Chin 1, Umipig 1, Webster 1.

Fouled out – Brown.

Technicals – None.

Halftime – 47-40, CSF.

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