Daily Titan Asst. Sports Editor
(Video by Derek Opina)
In a double-overtime thriller, the Cal State Fullerton menâ€™s basketball team escaped with a 68-65 upset victory over 11-time NCAA national champion UCLA.
Sophomore guard Jacques Streeter made one of two free throws to put the Titans up by three with 12 seconds to go.
CSUF sealed the win after UCLA senior guard Michael Roll missed a three-pointer with five seconds left in the second overtime.
â€œIt feels great, I think Iâ€™m a little numb right now,â€ Titan Head Coach Bob Burton said. â€œIâ€™m just more relieved than happy right now.â€
Senior guard Aaron Thompson scored a career-high 22 points and tied his career-high in rebounds, with nine.
â€œCoach was telling me to knock it down and thatâ€™s what I did,â€ Thompson said.
Senior forward Gerard Anderson filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals, including a monstrous dunk with four minutes left in regulation that had the Titan bench roaring.
When asked about the win, Anderson said, â€œIt really hasnâ€™t set in yet, but about this time tomorrow itâ€™s going to feel real good.â€
Sophomore guard Malcolm Lee and Roll led the Bruins with 17 points apiece.
Senior forward Nikola Dragovic, the lone starter from last seasonâ€™s Bruin squad, was only 1 of 9 from 3-point range.
The game tipped off at 9 p.m. PST as the first game in ESPNâ€™s 24-hour College Hoops Season Tip-Off special.
CSUF recorded its first victory against UCLA, after going winless in their first nine meetings, which were all at Pauley Pavilion.
â€œNot many teams come in here and beat UCLA, so itâ€™s big for us,â€ Streeter said. â€œItâ€™s a real big statement that we wanted to make.â€
The Titans were not intimidated one bit in this David and Goliath matchup, as the Bruins looked more like the former than the latter.
CSUF started out with big-game jitters, with two traveling violations and a couple of missed shots around the basket.
They settled down by jumping to an early five-point lead after a Thompson three-pointer.
The Bruins crept back into the game but Anderson attacked the basket at will on his way to nine first half points.
With two more traveling calls, and redshirt juniors Jerâ€™Vaughn Johnson and Bryce Webster both picking up their second fouls, Streeter sliced and diced his way to the basket to tie the game at 15-15.
Johnson and Webster combined for 22 of the Titans’ 53 rebounds, including six important offensive rebounds.
The crucial play of the first half was Andersonâ€™s steal and two-handed jam off of a careless UCLA inbounds play right after Thompson sunk two free throws.
The crowd was relatively quiet after the score and the Titans led the Bruins at halftime, 33-27.
CSUF came out of the locker room with the same assertive attitude, which prompted UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland to call a timeout just two minutes into the second half.
After a sweet dime from Streeter, redshirt sophomore forward Orane Chin flushed a baseline dunk to give the Titans their largest lead of the game, 43-33.
Lee was then helped off the court in obvious pain, and the Bruins went on a 9-0 run with freshman forward Reeves Nelson scoring six crucial points.
A Roll three-pointer with less than eight minutes left in regulation gave the Bruins their first lead since leading 21-19.
With both teams trading baskets in the last couple minutes of the second half, the game came down to UCLA sophomore guard Jerime Anderson with a floater that rimmed out right as the buzzer sounded.
In overtime, the Titans did not make any field goals but relied on three free throws to offset Rollâ€™s three-point basket.
With four seconds left in the first overtime, the Bruins had another chance to win it, but Lee missed a three as time expired.
In the second overtime, Streeter made a momentum changing step-back three pointer over UCLA senior forward James Keefe to make it 65-60, in favor of the Titans.
â€œI saw that I had a big guy on me so I wanted to capitalize on that, and I went after it,â€ Streeter said.
The Titansâ€™ use of a 1-2-2 zone defense was the difference in the second half as they dared the Bruins to beat them from the perimeter.
The Bruins could not take advantage, as they shot 17 percent from three-point range, including a combined 2 of 12 in threeâ€™s in both overtimes.
â€œ[The win] gives us a lot of exposure, we were picked seventh in our league and now itâ€™s a wake-up call to all the teams in our league,â€ Streeter said. â€œItâ€™s a big step for our program.â€