Tray Maddox Jr.

Cal State Fullerton guard Tray Maddox Jr. goes up for a shot against Long Beach State on January 9, 2020 at Titan Gym. (CSUF Athletics)

A huge second half performance propelled the Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team into overtime with Long Beach State Saturday night, and a clutch defensive effort in the extra period paved the way for the Titans to pick up its first Big West win of the season, 75-72.

After trailing by 12 points at halftime, the Titans (2-3, 1-3 in the Big West) started the second half on a 16-0 run, fueled by 13 points from guard Tray Maddox Jr. to give his team the first lead of the game nearly five minutes into the half. 

Long Beach (3-4, 2-2 in the Big West) was unable to score in the final seconds of regulation, while the Titans made key free throws and defensive stops in overtime to snap the 3-game losing streak and avoid a sweep from its conference rival. CSUF head coach Dedrique Taylor said that finding the team’s rhythm and making shots in the second half was key to the victory.

“That, all of a sudden, let the air out of everything and kind of let us relax, and allowed us to play and defend, to give ourselves a chance to win the game,” Taylor said. 

Although both teams made only two shots in the extra period, Fullerton went 6-for-11 from the free-throw line, while Long Beach went 1-for-4. 

The Titans made 18 of its 35 shots in the second half, while the Beach went 12-for-26. In 3-point shooting, Fullerton went 6-for-13 in the half compared to Long Beach’s 4-for-9. 

Maddox Jr. led the Titans with 22 points, 18 of which came in the second half and overtime. He also went 4-for-7 from the 3-point line. 

“Tray was really aggressive, and I thought that was a difference from last night,” Taylor said. “He was able to see the ball go in a hole and we were able to find a way to win.”

Maddox Jr. added that the team came out with a lot more energy and determination than Friday, and that he wanted to do more than just score, as he had six rebounds and four assists.

“I wanted to do more today, so I facilitated in the first half, and then I did more of my scoring in the second half, but my teammates helped out a lot with that,” Maddox Jr. said. 

Vincent Lee, CSUF forward, had a big game with 16 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, which earned praise from his head coach. 

“Sixteen points, 16 rebounds. I mean, you get paid for that. I mean I don't even know how you do that, but we needed that,” Taylor said. “Vince had an unbelievable effort tonight.”

Guard Jadon Jones led the Beach with 17 points, as he went 5-for-10 from the field and 4-for-9 from 3-point land. Isaiah Washington, who came into the game as the team’s leading scorer, scored 16 points for the Beach.

CSUF started off cold from the field as it missed its first eight shots while Long Beach built a 9-0 lead nearly six minutes into the first half until Maddox hit a 3-pointer to get the Titans on the board. Fullerton continued to miss shots throughout the rest of the first half, and trailed by as much as 15 points with two minutes left, and was down 33-21 at halftime.  

Fullerton finished the half 9-for-29 (31%) from the field while Long Beach went 12-for-28 (42.9%). The Titans struggled from behind the arc, as they went 1-for-10 from 3-point land, while the Beach made five of its 13 3-point attempts in the first half. 

Jadon Jones, Long Beach guard, led the Beach in the first half with 14 points, nine of them coming off 3-pointers. No one scored more than four points in the half for CSUF, as four Titans each had four points. 

Long Beach was able to claw its way back into the game and tied it at 65 points with 50 seconds left to go. After a pair of missed free throws from CSUF’s Landis Spivey, the Beach had possession of the ball with a chance to win the game. However, Long Beach’s Chance Hunter missed a potential game-winning shot as the clock expired.  

The Titans will return to the court next weekend on the road against UC Davis. Both games against the Aggies on Friday and Saturday do not have a start time yet.

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