Tears welled in the eyes of several seniors. Others silently contemplated what would come next following their time as part of Cal State Fullerton’s men’s basketball program.
All the seniors knew was that they would never wear a college uniform again following a 80-76 loss to Weber State in the Riley Wallace Classic.
“There’s only four teams in the country that win their last game,” said Titans Head Coach Dedrique Taylor. “At some point we’ll look back and review the season and I’m sure we’ll be pleased with what we’ve done, but by the same token as a competitor I’m not okay with finishing anything less than first.”
The Titans went into halftime in decent shape, trailing 35-33 after leading by as much as seven points in the first 20 minutes.
Sophomore guard Kyle Allman lead the team in scoring with 10 points, but CSUF was unable to track Wildcats guard Jeremy Senglin as he weaved around the court and knocked down three 3-pointers.
Senglin (21 points and four assists) wasn’t the only Wildcat firing away from distance. Weber State shot 19 of their 27 3-pointers in the first half. Fullerton’s shot just nine in that time, and while the Wildcats shot 29.4 percent, three being more than 2 helped make up the deficit as both teams shot below 50 percent from the floor.
Weber State opened up an 8-0 run to start the second half before Allman (17 points on 6-14 shooting) responded by going to the line and knocking down two free-throws to slow the bleeding, at least for a moment.
However, the Wildcats would open a lead of as much as 13 points until they went cold from behind the arc. No longer at a mathematics deficit, the Titans were able to battle back and tie the game at 55 on a layup from Allman on the break.
The two teams proceeded to trade figurative punches and literal free throws down the stretch, and the Titans couldn’t keep up with the Wildcats in the latter particular battle as the Weber State used a 27-15 advantage in free-throw attempts to claw their way to a victory.
“You want my real answer (about the free-throws)?” Taylor asked. “I just thought they had a little better purpose behind what they were doing and their level of execution. That is the political answer and I’m going to stop right there.”
Even with the Titans’ season at an end, similarly to his seniors, Taylor wasn’t quite ready to think about the next campaign.
“I got a headache like a mother trucker right now man, and honestly, I just want to take a step back and really, really collect myself, collect our staff and begin to have those kinds of conversations,” Taylor said.