Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball lost for the sixth time in seven games Wednesday night, falling 82-75 against the University of San Diego. With the loss, the Titans drop to 3-6 on the season.
Titan leading scorer Tre’ Coggins carried the team on his back through the first half with 12 points on 50 percent shooting from the field while knocking down two of three shots from the three-point line.
Freshman Jackson Rowe added six points in 16 minutes for the Titans while being aggressive on offense with three free throws. Kyle Allman didn’t jump off the stat sheet in the first half, putting up five points and two assists with two turnovers. Allman did, however, seemingly jump out of the gym when he stole the ball from San Diego and finished with a two-handed slam dunk on the fastbreak.
The play of the first half came when center Richard Peters blocked Toreros’ leading scorer Brett Bailey’s shot and guard Austen Awosika grabbed the rebound and took it coast to coast for a layup to break the deadlock with San Diego. The field goal put the Titans up 30-28 just a minute before halftime.
Fullerton looked like they were going to take the two-point lead going into halftime, but Bailey drained a three to put San Diego up by one point with 20 seconds left in the first half. The Titans called a timeout to work for a high percentage shot to take a lead into halftime. However, the offense remained stagnant, resulting in a contested long three-point shot for Lionheart Leslie.
San Diego came out of the locker room on fire in the second half, knocking down its first two shots including a three-pointer from Cameron Neubauer. Leslie did his best to keep the Titans in the game and stem the tide of the Toreros, slowing down the pace of the game by getting fouled while going to the rim and knocking down two free throws.
Although Leslie started off the second half strong for the Titans, the rest of the team struggled to score. Coggins had 11 points in the second half, but was much less effective from the field, shooting just 2-6 from the three-point line.
San Diego pulled away early in the second half with a 21-10 run. Fortunately for Fullerton, Leslie was clutch throughout the second with 21 second-half points, making a great driving layup over a San Diego defender to bring Fullerton’s deficit to five points after being down 12 earlier in the game.
However, Neubauer answered yet again with back-to-back three-pointers to push the Toreros lead back to 11. Every time CSUF brought the score back to single digits, the Toreros rattled a couple buckets to extend it back to comfortable lead and eventually take the game.
Neubauer’s 29 points on 6-9 shooting from the three-point line and 9-14 overall from the field fueled the Toreros throughout the game. Neubauer far exceeded his season averages Wednesday, as he typically scores 9.3 points per game and has made only nine three-pointers this season on 29 percent shooting.
Turnovers crippled the Titans yet again as they totaled 14 on the night, leading to 11 points for San Diego. Allman made some key mistakes for the Titans down the stretch, which contributed to Fullerton not being able to pull off the comeback. He turned the ball over on two straight possessions with under two minutes left in the game.
The Titans return home to Titan Gym to play Southern Utah Saturday night at 6 p.m.