The Titans blew a 12-point halftime lead, but senior guard Aaron Thompson scored 10 of his 23 points in overtime to lead the Titans to an 81-75 victory over Long Beach State.
Junior center Bryce Webster had his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds, and the Titans completed a season sweep of the Big West Conferences preseason favorite.
“We played with a lot of resiliency to lose the lead the way we did and play so well in overtime,” Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton told the Orange County Register. “I thought both teams played hard and were exhausted in overtime.
The Titans couldn’t generate the same level of intensity in a 76-59 loss to UC Riverside on Feb. 6. Junior forward Kyle Austin had a career-high 35 points and 11 rebounds for the Highlanders, who shot 52.8 percent from the field and made six of six 3-point shots while holding the Titans to 40.9 percent shooting.
“I was worried about this game,” Burton said. “We went from the high of the Long Beach win and we played poorly because of UC Riverside. They played great and had a great game plan.
“Austin carried them on his back. They deserve all the credit. We were out-coached and outplayed in every phase of the game.”
The Register reported that Burton warned his team about complacency during a locker-room celebration following the victory over Long Beach State. He was disappointed when they didn’t heed his words.
“I hope our guys take a good hard look in the mirror and understand how hard we have to work to win, or were sure not going to have the luck in the Big West tournament that we want to have,” Burton told the Register.
“You’ve got to be able to sustain tough games like this.”
• Senior G Aaron Thompson would be the Big West Conferences single-season record holder for 3-point shooting percentage if the season ended today. Thompson is shooting 54.7 percent from beyond the arc. In addition to leading the Big West in 3-point shooting, Thompson is second in field-goal percentage at 53.3.
• Sophomore PG Jacques Streeter leads the Big West Conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1) and assists per game (5.3). Streeter matched his season high with 10 assists in a Jan. 30 victory over UC Irvine.
On The Spot: Senior G Gerard Anderson failed to score in double figures in two of the past three games after doing so seven times in the previous eight games. Anderson was held to five points on 2-of-6 shooting and had four rebounds in a Jan. 30 victory over UC Irvine. He had only three points on 1-of-4 shooting with two rebounds in a Feb. 6 loss to UC Riverside.
Quote To Note: “It’s amazing. We can go win at UCLA, win at Long Beach, have great wins, but those are easy games to play in. These are the ones that are really hard, especially when you play guys who are well coached and really tough like Riverside. —Cal State Fullerton coach Bob Burton, to the Orange County Register, following Feb. 6 loss to UC Riverside.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Season Recap: Cal State Fullerton had won three of its past four games as of Feb. 9 to keep pace with a host of teams vying for a first-round bye in the Big West Conference Tournament. Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Davis and Cal Poly were enmeshed in a four-way tie for third place in the Big West at 5-5. The third- and fourth-place teams in the Big West will earn first-round byes in the conference tournament. The teams that finish lower than fourth will have to win four games in four days to win the Big West tournament.
Player Rotation: Usual Starters—G Jacques Streeter, G Aaron Thompson, F Gerard Anderson, F Jer'Vaughn Johnson, C Bryce Webster. Key Subs—G Devon Peltier, F Orane Chin, F Papa Guisse, G Jamal McGuire.
- Cal State Fullerton 74, UC Irvine 68
- Cal State Fullerton 81, Long Beach State 75
- UC Riverside 76, Cal State Fullerton 59
- at UC Irvine, Wednesday, Feb. 10
- at Cal State Northridge, Saturday, Feb. 13
- vs. UC Santa Barbara, Wednesday, Feb. 17
- vs. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Saturday, Feb. 20
- at Cal Poly, Wednesday, Feb. 24
In Focus: Cal State Fullerton suffered a 78-72 loss to Cal State Northridge on Jan. 16 at Titan Gym. The Titans have a chance to avenge that loss when they visit the Matadome on Feb. 13. Freshman G Devon Peltier came off the bench to score 23 points, but the Titans couldn’t overcome 18 turnovers, 60 percent free-throw shooting and a 36-29 rebounding disparity. Cal State Fullerton will need a better game from sophomore PG Jacques Streeter, who was held to nine points on 2-of-12 shooting. Junior F Lenny Daniel had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Matadors. He recently was suspended for two games but has since returned.
• Senior G Aaron Thompson has put up big numbers in recent weeks. He averaged 17 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocked shots over the past four games through Feb. 9. He had season highs of 24 points and 14 rebounds in a Jan. 26 victory over Cal State Bakersfield. He had 23 points, eight rebounds and a season-high three blocked shots in a Feb. 4 victory over Long Beach State.
• Sophomore PG Jacques Streeter continues to struggle with his shot. He scored a total of 22 points on 6-of-21 shooting in the Titans last two games against Long Beach State and UC Riverside. Streeter has made 27-of-89 (30.3 percent) from the field, including 12-of-43 (27.9) from 3-point range over the past nine games through Feb. 9.
• Junior G Devon Peltier was held to three points on 1-of-6 shooting in a Feb. 6 loss to UC Riverside. It was Peltier’s lowest-scoring game since he went scoreless in limited minutes in consecutive games against UCLA and New Mexico State.