The Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team staged an impressive second-half rally in their road matchup against the Pepperdine Waves Wednesday night in Malibu to win the game 78-64.
The Titans were victims of a slow offensive start, as they struggled to find their range in the early going. That allowed the Waves, who were also struggling offensively, to gain an early advantage.
While CSUF struggled to find an identity throughout the first half, they used a strong offensive effort in the second half to overcome their West Coast Conference foes. They opened the final half on a 20-10 run that put them ahead for the remainder of the game.
Fullerton got back-to-back three-pointers from junior forward Steve McClellan and senior guard Michael Williams, pushing the Titans’ lead to 11 points with 3:59 left to play and effectively ending any hope of a comeback by the hometown Waves.
The biggest offensive presence for the Titans was senior forward Marquis Horne, who scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field. He also grabbed seven rebounds.
Another key contributor to CSUF’s victory was junior guard Alex Harris, who has battled injuries early in the season. Harris added nine points and a team-high eight rebounds in his second game back from an ankle injury.
Freshman forward Joe Boyd led the Titans with eight first-half points to keep the offense on track in what was an extremely sluggish start for the visitors.
Senior forward Brendan Lane scored 13 points over the first 20 minutes to pace the Waves to a 37-32 halftime lead.
Lane finished with 24 points on impressive 10-of-17 shooting from the field, but it was not enough to keep pace with a Titan offense that scored 46 second-half points.
Pepperdine guard Jeremy Major added 10 points for the relatively one-sided Waves’ offensive attack. No other Pepperdine player reached double figures in scoring on the night.
CSUF held a clear rebounding advantage with a 42-29 rebounding edge, including allowing just eight offensive boards to their opponents and grabbing 11 offensive rebounds of their own.
The Titans were also able to shoot more efficiently from the free-throw line than their opponents, holding a .682 to .667 shooting advantage from the charity stripe.
Fullerton was able to bounce back from their disappointing 0-3 performance in the Wooden Legacy tournament held at both Titan Gym and the Honda Center in Anaheim. The Titans battled against Marquette University, the University of Miami and the College of Charleston, but were unable to come away with a victory in any of the three games.
The win snaps a five-game losing streak for the Titans. CSUF will look to build from their second road victory of the season against the University of Seattle Redhawks at Titan Gym Saturday.
The Titans will look to avenge their 75-71 loss to the Redhawks on Nov. 13 in Seattle after blowing an 18-point second-half lead.
Fullerton now holds a 3-6 mark on the young 2013 season, and the team hopes to improve to .500 with three consecutive home games looming in the schedule. Seattle, Texas Southern University and Cal State Sacramento all present winnable home games before the Titans’ difficult test on the road against Mountain West Conference member University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
For more information on the men’s basketball team and all Titan Athletics, go to FullertonTitans.com.