Cal State Fullerton baseball blanks Long Beach State in series opener

FULLERTON — For the first time in decades, the Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State baseball programs are meeting in a late-season series that has no postseason implications for either side.

That doesn’t mean the longtime Big West Conference rivals lack motivation when it comes to an opportunity to earn bragging rights over each other.

Pitchers Timothy Josten and Kyle Luckham combined on a shutout as the Titans defeated Long Beach 6-0 in their series opener on Thursday night at Goodwin Field.

The Titans, who swept the teams’ annual nonconference series at Blair Field earlier this season, are trying to complete a six-game season sweep for the first time since 2013.

Fullerton (23-25, 9-10 Big West) spent much of the night protecting a 1-0 lead before breaking the game open with a four-run seventh inning, highlighted by Kameron Guangorena’s two-run single.

Josten (3-4) had his best start of the season, as the left-hander held LBSU (11-39, 5-14) to four hits through seven innings while striking out two. Luckham allowed just three hits in the final two innings. It was the Titans’ third shutout of the season.

Zach Lew went 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI to pace Fullerton, which will miss the NCAA postseason for the first time since 1991.

Senior Hank LoForte and Jacob Pavletich kicked off the final home series of their CSF careers with solid nights. LoForte went 3 for 4 with a walk, one run scored and an RBI. Pavletich went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk and a run scored.

Sophomore left-hander Adam Seminaris (3-9) allowing just one unearned run in six innings for LBSU, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out five.

Three LBSU players had multi-hit games: Chris Jimenez and Jacob Hughey both went 2 for 4, while Aidan Malm went 2 for 3 with a walk. Hughey and Malm each had a double.

Long Beach had at least one runner on base in seven of the nine innings and loaded the bases in the sixth with two hits and a walk, but Fullerton shortstop Brett Borgogno caught Chase Luttrell’s sinking line drive to end the threat. Long Beach managed a pair of singles and a walk in the ninth inning but stranded two runners in scoring position to end the game.

The series continues Friday at 8:15 p.m., with right-hander Nick Avila (0-4, 4.50) scheduled to start for LBSU. Fullerton has not named a started for Game 2. The series finale, which will be Senior Day for the Titans, is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.

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Whicker: Cal State Fullerton’s seniority vs. UC Irvine’s gaudy record in Big West final

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Josh Pitts, right, shows his excitement as guard Jamal Smith draws a foul and scored a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, left, tries to drive toward the basket as Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr. defends during the first half of Friday’s Big West Tournament semifinal at Honda Center. Allman came up with several big defensive plays in the final minutes of the Titans’ 64-58 victory. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

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  • UC Santa Barbara guard Ar’Mond Davis, left, goes up for a basket under as Cal State Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr. slams a dunk during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad celebrates after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor gives instructions to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad, top, shoots over UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., center, drives hard around UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon, left, to put up a shot for the score late in the second half of the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, blocks the shot by UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Jamal Smith celebrates after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, right, runs into Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood and loses his footing in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, center, scores a basket around UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, blocks a shot in the lane by UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin to maintain the Titans’ lead during the final minutes of their Big West Tournament semifinal on Friday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • As UC Santa Barbara guard Ar’Mond Davis, left, reacts after the Gauchos turned over the ball to Cal State Fullerton, guard Landon Kirkwood, center, and forward Jackson Rowe, right, do a little celebrating in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara head coach Joe Pasternack yells instructions to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Cal State Fullerton at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, left, and Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, wait for the ball to come down for the rebound in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang reaches to control the rebound against Santa Barbara in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Davon Clare, center, moves toward the basket between UC Santa Barbara forward Robinson Idehen, left, and forward Jarriesse Blackmon, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, right, scoops top a loose ball in front of UC Santa Barbara guard Sekou Toure in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara forward Amadou Sow hangs from the rim after a dunk, as Cal State Fullerton forward Josh Pitts, left, and forward Jackson Rowe stand nearby during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin, right, shoots over Cal State Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara forward Amadou Sow, left, shoots over Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad dunks with two seconds left for the final points of his team’s 64-58 victory over UC Santa Barbara in Friday’s Big West Tournament semifinal at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang, left, lets out a yell after the Titans scored to extend their lead over UC Santa Barbara with minutes left in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, left, and guard Austen Awosika, right, celebrate the Titans’ win over UC Santa Barbara in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad is being congratulated by the fans after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright grabs the rebound in front of Long Beach State center Temidayo Yussuf, center, as UC Irvine forward Elston Jones, left, reaches in during the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, right, goes up to the basket as UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, left, shoots in front of UC Irvine forward Elston Jones during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Evan Leonard, right, tries to block the shot by Long Beach State guard Drew Cobb during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Evan Leonard, center, goes up for a dunk next to Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine coach Russell Turner, center, reacts after a foul was called on the team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Long Beach State at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine forward Collin Welp, right, is fouled by Long Beach State forward KJ Byers during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine forward JC Butler, left, goes up to the basket as Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright, center, drives through traffic to score in front of Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, right, during the second half of their Big West Tournament semifinal on Friday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright, right, steals the ball from Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, back, tries to steal the ball from UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Max Hazzard, right, shoots over Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, center, shoots between UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright, left, and forward Tommy Rutherford during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Long Beach State guard Drew Cobb can only watch as UC Irvine forward JC Butler controls the loose ball in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Long Beach State guard Drew Cobb, right, and UC Irvine forward JC Butler go after a loose ball in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward JC Butler, Long Beach State guard Drew Cobb and Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, from left, go after a loose ball in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward Elston Jones, right, keeps the ball away from Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, left, and another Long Beach State player in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford, center, muscles his way past Long Beach State forward KJ Byers, left, and forward Mason Riggins, right, to score a basket in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Long Beach State center Temidayo Yussuf, right, protects a rebound from UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward Jonathan Galloway, center, gets to the rebound before Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, left, and guard Deishuan Booker, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward Jonathan Galloway gestures after scoring during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Long Beach State at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford, left, tries to block a shot by Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine players cheer their team on as they score another basket with seconds left in their Big West Tournament semifinal victory over rival Long Beach State on Friday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, left, wipes his face with a towel as the team plays the final minutes of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Irvine at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. UC Irvine won 75-67. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

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ANAHEIM — As a freshman, Kyle Allman Jr. averaged 5.3 points. Khalil Ahmad averaged 14.3. Jamal Smith averaged as many calories as he could amass, as a redshirt.

Dedrique Taylor, Cal State Fullerton’s coach, was in his third year, but it seemed like every minute was a do-over, a disheartening trip back to the starting blocks. He won 10 games in that 2015-16 season, giving him a total of 30 and an average of 10.

On Friday night at Honda Center, the Titans put together a 24-10 run, caught and passed UC Santa Barbara, and won their fifth consecutive Big West Tournament game 64-58.

On Saturday night they play UC Irvine, the top seed, in hopes of a second consecutive title.

“I looked out there and I saw guys that looked nothing they did back then,” Taylor said. “Back then they didn’t have facial hair, they were uglier than ever. Now they’re muscular, they’re physically mature, and you have to credit their experience, their belief. I think tonight we managed to impose our will.”

The third-seeded Titans squared their record at 16-16 thanks to smothering defense at the end. Second-seeded UCSB missed its final 10 field-goal attempts and didn’t have a basket in the last 7:07.

Allman blocked his 11th and 12th shots of the season, Jackson Rowe added another rejection, and Smith was the point of the spear, taking charges, making steals and influencing a game while only taking (and making) one shot.

The Titans are embracing seniors like Allman, Smith and Ahmad because they’ll have to let go of them, whenever this team loses.

“They’ve changed the face of this basketball program,” Taylor said.

“We talked last night about how we know we’ve only got a couple of games left together,” Ahmad said, “and we don’t want it to end soon.”

Ahmad has 60 points in these two tournament games and 1,714 overall. Allman, the all-time CSF leader in games played, has 1,617 points.

And Taylor shook his head when someone cited the accumulated minutes. Ahmad played 39 Friday, 43 in Thursday’s overtime win over UC Davis. Allman played 40 Friday, 43 Saturday.

“If I was out there playing, I might be concerned about minutes,” Taylor said. “These guys are 21, 22 years old. It’s go time.”

UCI beat Fullerton by seven at home and by 17 on the road this season, but in last year’s final the Titans dominated 71-55.

This UCI team (29-5) is plus-7.5 in rebounds-per-game, which might be the main reason it has a 15-game winning streak and is on the cusp of becoming the first 30-game winner in the Big West since UNLV’s 34-1 NCAA semifinal loser in 1991.

It was the proximate cause of its 75-67 semifinal win over a Long Beach State team that came in with six consecutive victories and the only Big West win over the Anteaters all season.

UCI won the boards 21-11 in the second half, which led to a 16-4 edge, overall, in second-chance points. Once the Anteaters decided to drive the ball on a night when they went 2 for 12 from deep, the formula kicked in.

But it is really hatched on the Bren Center floor, every other day in practice, when Coach Russell Turner calls for the 2-on-2 rebounding drill.

“Two big guys, two little guys, all of them blocking each other out,” Turner said. “No out of bounds, no fouls.”

“Love that drill,” guard Robert Cartwright said, rolling his eyes.

“And we got a lot of big guys,” guard Evan Leonard said, smiling wearily.

“A lot of Hall of Fame coaches have used it, it’s been around a long time,” Turner said. “I love it. It’s a chance for us to embrace our physicality.”

Jonathan Galloway, Tommy Rutherford and Elston Jones swallowed up 19 of those rebounds, and the Anteaters physicaled their way to a 48-34 second half. They also managed to get through the 49ers’ press, replacing their turnovers with 2-on-1 breaks and dunks. But it was a nervous night for the Anteaters, who trailed by seven early in the second half and, at times, were exhibiting the thousand-yard-stare of a favorite on the defensive.

Cartwright’s career-high 17-point night, built mostly on drives, solved much of that. But the Anteaters could have used the quickness and playmaking of Eyassu Worku, who missed the game with a leg injury.

“He’s playing tomorrow night,” Turner said. “We didn’t want him to play back to back. And I wanted to make sure he played in the final. So it was a gamble that could have easily not paid off, not playing him tonight.

“His speed and decision-making ability are critical. He gives us another speed handler. And not having him also takes away an opportunity to give our guys some rest. We played Rob (Cartwright) 35 minutes. He’s got great natural energy, and he wasn’t just settling for jump shots tonight. I’m of the opinion he can handle those minutes, plus whatever we can get out of it tomorrow.”

He was referring to Saturday, the first time that one of these days won’t have a tomorrow.

—- BIG WEST TOURNAMENT —-

No. 1 seed UC IRVINE (29-5) vs. No. 3 Cal State Fullerton (16-16)

Championship game

When: Saturday, 9 p.m.

Where: Honda Center

TV: ESPN2

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Cal State Fullerton rallies to beat UCSB, sets up Big West title game against UC Irvine

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, blocks a shot by UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin to maintain the Titans’ lead with minutes left in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Davon Clare, center, moves toward the basket between UC Santa Barbara forward Robinson Idehen, left, and forward Jarriesse Blackmon, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

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  • UC Santa Barbara guard Ar’Mond Davis, left, goes up for a basket under as Cal State Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, right, scoops top a loose ball in front of UC Santa Barbara guard Sekou Toure in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara forward Amadou Sow, left, shoots over Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin, right, shoots over Cal State Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara forward Amadou Sow hangs from the rim after a dunk, as Cal State Fullerton forward Josh Pitts, left, and forward Jackson Rowe stand nearby during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang reaches to control the rebound against Santa Barbara in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, left, and Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, wait for the ball to come down for the rebound in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, left, tries to drive toward the basket as Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr. defends during the first half of Friday’s Big West Tournament semifinal at Honda Center. Allman came up with several big defensive plays in the final minutes of the Titans’ 64-58 victory. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad dunks with two seconds left for the final points of his team’s 64-58 victory over UC Santa Barbara in Friday’s Big West Tournament semifinal at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, left, and guard Austen Awosika, right, celebrate the Titans’ win over UC Santa Barbara in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • As UC Santa Barbara guard Ar’Mond Davis, left, reacts after the Gauchos turned over the ball to Cal State Fullerton, guard Landon Kirkwood, center, and forward Jackson Rowe, right, do a little celebrating in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., center, drives hard around UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon, left, to put up a shot for the score late in the second half of the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, center, scores a basket around UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, right, runs into Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood and loses his footing in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara head coach Joe Pasternack yells instructions to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Cal State Fullerton at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, blocks the shot by UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Jamal Smith celebrates after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang, left, lets out a yell after the Titans scored to extend their lead over UC Santa Barbara with minutes left in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad, top, shoots over UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor gives instructions to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad celebrates after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr. slams a dunk during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Josh Pitts, right, shows his excitement as guard Jamal Smith draws a foul and scored a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad is being congratulated by the fans after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

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ANAHEIM — The all-Orange County rematch is on.

Third-seeded Cal State Fullerton came through with clutch defense to hold second-seeded UC Santa Barbara without a field goal in the final seven minutes of a 64-58 win in the Big West Tournament semifinals on Friday night.

The Titans’ win sets up a rematch of last year’s championship game against top-seeded UC Irvine, which defeated Long Beach State in Friday’s first semifinal. Fullerton won last year’s title game 71-55.

The Titans (16-16) trailed for much of the second half on Friday, but they went on a 7-0 run, capped by a Davon Clare floater, to tie the score with three minutes left.

Then Kyle Allman Jr. delivered one of the defensive plays of the game, blocking a Jay Nagle 3-point attempt. On the ensuing offensive possession, Khalil Ahmad, who finished with a game-high 28 points, drove to the rim and drew a goaltending call, giving Fullerton a two-point lead with 1:11 left.

UCSB (22-10) called a timeout and seemed to get a good look at the basket, but Allman again arrived in the nick of time for the Titans. He swatted Jaquori McLaughlin’s driving layup attempt out of bounds. McLaughlin got another try, but Jackson Rowe appeared for a violent block off the backboard.

“I think this group of guys, they believe,” Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor said. “They know what they’re capable of and down the stretch, they started to galvanize each other. We just swarmed them. We had some really crucial blocks at the front of the rim there. But our group of guys, we didn’t want to go home.”

Fullerton had to play the free-throw game after that. The Titans made enough of them and the defense was stout enough to hold on until Ahmad’s breakaway dunk clinched the win with two seconds left.

The two teams were evenly matched in the first half, fitting considering they finished tied for second in the Big West during the regular season. Both shot the ball around 45 percent from the floor and struggled from 3-point range. UCSB had a one-rebound advantage, and neither team allowed the other to get into the bonus.

The lone differences were that UCSB made three free throws and Fullerton never got to the line, and the Titans turned the ball over eight times to the Gauchos’ five. The result was a three-point UCSB lead at halftime.

But then UCSB’s cold shooting changed in the second half. The Gauchos made four of their next five attempts from 3-point range to open a 10-point lead.

But in the end, Fullerton’s defense responded when it needed to put the Titans a win away from a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.

But standing in the way is their in-county rival. UCI beat Fullerton twice in the regular season, the first time by 17 points and the second by seven.

“Cannot wait,” Ahmad said. “Cannot wait.”

“We know what happened in the regular season,” added Jamal Smith, whom Taylor lauded for stabilizing the team with his play in the second half. “That definitely didn’t slip our mind and we’re coming full-force. We’re more connected than ever.”

.@CSFCoachTaylor on tonight’s win. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/Eq2TMJiuxD

— Titans Men’s Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 16, 2019

Not done yet. @oh_snaap25 #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/PcxTOgnxzp

— Titans Men’s Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 16, 2019

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Long Beach State women eliminate Cal State Fullerton in Big West tourney opener

  • Long Beach State’s Kianna Hamilton-Fisher steals the ball from Cal State Fullerton’s Triann Thompson, left, during their first-round game in the Big West Conference Women’s Tournament on Tuesday night at UCI’s Bren Events Center. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Shanaijah Davison #21 of the Long Beach State 49ers celebrates scoring a basket during their first round game against Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Raina Perez #2 of the CSU Fullerton Titans steals the ball from Justina King #10 of the Long Beach State 49ers during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Naomi Hunt #42 of the Long Beach State 49ers scores past the CSU Fullerton defense during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Kianna Hamilton-Fisher #25 of the Long Beach State 49ers celebrates with teammates after their first round game against Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Justina King #10 of the Long Beach State 49ers tries to stop Raina Perez #2 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s Cydnee Kinslow blocks a shot by Cal State Fullerton’s Daeja Smith during their first-round game in the Big West Conference Women’s Tournament on Tuesday night at UCI’s Bren Events Center. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada on the sidelines during their first round game against Long Beach State in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jade Vega #1 of the CSU Fullerton Titans scores past Lauren Green #23 of the Long Beach State 49ers during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Raina Perez #2 of the CSU Fullerton Titans scores past Lauren Green #23 of the Long Beach State 49ers during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State 49ers head coach Jeff Cammon on the sidelines during their first round game against CSU Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State 49ers head coach Jeff Cammon talks to his players during a timeout during their first round game against CSU Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cydnee Kinslow #1 of the Long Beach State 49ers battles for a rebound with Daeja Smith #32 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jade Vega #1 of the CSU Fullerton Titans battles past Shanaijah Davison #21 of the Long Beach State 49ers during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Justina King #10 of the Long Beach State 49ers is called for a charge on Carolyn Gill #23 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jade Vega #1 of the CSU Fullerton Titans collides with Cydnee Kinslow #1 of the Long Beach State 49ers as the battle for a loose ball during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State 49ers head coach Jeff Cammon on the sidelines during their first round game against CSU Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cydnee Kinslow #1 of the Long Beach State 49ers grabs a rebound in front of Daeja Smith #32 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Shanaijah Davison #21 of the Long Beach State 49ers scores past Raina Perez #2 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada talks to his players during a timeout during their first round game against Long Beach State in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Fullerton cheerleaders support their team during their first round game against Long Beach State in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada on the sidelines during their first round game against Long Beach State in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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IRVINE — The Long Beach State women’s basketball team had lost six of its last seven games coming into Tuesday night’s Big West Tournament opener at the Bren Center, but like a viral moment, they were “trending.”

The seventh-seeded 49ers, a senior-less team that gives most of its playing time to freshmen and sophomores, stepped up with one of their best games of the season, upsetting sixth-seeded Cal State Fullerton 60-54 and moving on to a quarterfinal game against No. 3 seed UC Riverside (16-14) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at UCI.

Sophomore Shanaijah Davison scored 21 points, freshman Kianna Hamilton-Fisher added a career-high 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting plus six rebounds, and Naomi Hunt had 15 points as the 49ers improved to 9-21 overall. Fullerton, which boasted 6-foot-3 center Daeja Smith and a team of upperclassmen, finished 14-16.

“I’m very proud of the way we played,” 49ers coach Jeff Cammon said. “We’ve had a tendency this season of having our energy dip when the other teams go on runs, but tonight was a 40-minute effort. We out-scrapped them.

“It’s a huge win when you’re putting the ball in the hands of a freshman at the point (Justina King), and when you’re asking a sophomore like Naomi (Hunt) to guard an all-league player like Daeja.”

The Titans had a 9-0 run in the first quarter but the 49ers battled back to trail by two and eventually cut the margin to one point by halftime. The 49ers gained confidence in the third quarter, hitting 7 of 14 shots.

The game turned hard in the fourth when Long Beach started throwing a variety of zone defenses at the Titans, allowing Hunt to handle Smith one-on-one and pressuring the Titans offense as they looked for shots on the edge.

“We did a little bit of everything,” Cammon said. “I thought they were getting a little comfortable, so we went to some match-up zones and a 2-3 looking to take them out of their rhythm.”

Fullerton coach Jeff Harada said his team left 20 points on the court by missing short follow-up shots and also going 7 for 14 from the free-throw line.

“You have to give credit to Long Beach, they played better and made more plays,” he said. “They had a lot of players hit shots tonight who hadn’t been their best shooters this season. These were the players we wanted to shoot, and tonight they made them.”

Hamilton-Fisher was around the ball a lot working out of the high post. She came into the game averaging just 4.4 points but dominated the game by getting herself into position.

“We’re a young team, but we’ve played a lot of games together,” she said. “It was just a matter of being aggressive and keeping the energy high.”

Long Beach’s 12-3 run to start the fourth quarter was a team conquest. Davison scored twice in transition and Hunt dropped in two short jumpers from the lane sandwiched around a baseline 3-pointer by Hamilton-Fisher. That pushed the lead to 55-44 with four minutes left.

Hunt scored inside during a Fullerton run to close to within 55-50, but the 49ers made five free throws down the stretch. Forwards Cydnee Kinslow and Lauren Green combined for 16 rebounds, and freshman King had eight assists.

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UC Irvine’s Russell Turner, Jonathan Galloway, Elston Jones receive Big West Conference awards

UC Irvine men’s basketball coach Russell Turner was named Big West Conference Coach of the Year for the third time in the past six seasons on Monday, while a pair of UCI players also earned top awards when all-conference honors were announced.

Turner, who previously won in 2013-14 and 2016-17, led the Anteaters to their fourth Big West regular-season title in the past six seasons and the best regular-season (27-5) and Big West records (15-1) in program history.

Turner, the second-winningest coach in program history with a 184-127 career record, has his team on a 13-game winning streak going into this week’s Big West Tournament at Honda Center. The top-seeded Anteaters meet No. 8 seed UC Riverside in a first-round game on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Jonathan Galloway made history by being named the Big West Defensive Player of the Year for the third consecutive season, something no player had done before. UCI players have earned the defensive honor four years in a row and six times in the last seven years.

For the first time in his career, Galloway also was named to the all-conference first team. Galloway, who earlier this month became UCI’s leader in career rebounds, anchors an Anteaters defense that ranks fifth nationally in field goal percentage defense (.380) and 22nd in scoring defense (63.8 ppg).

Senior Elston Jones is the first UCI player to earn the Best Sixth Player award. Jones leads the Anteaters with 1.6 blocked shots per game and ranks second in the conference in blocks and fourth in rebounds per game (7.0). He averages 5.8 points but had three double-doubles this season and a career-high 14 points against UC Riverside on Jan. 26.

Cal State Fullerton senior guard Kyle Allman Jr. received first-team honors for the second consecutive season. The Brooklyn product finished the regular season as the No. 4 scorer in the conference (17.8 ppg) and has scored in double figures in all but two games this season including 20-plus on 10 occasions and 30-plus four times. He is second on the team in assists as well.

Long Beach State senior Deishuan Booker was the area’s other first-team selection, becoming the sixth 49ers point guard to receive the honor over the last nine seasons. During conference play, Booker led the 49ers with 23.3 points per game, second in the Big West, while adding 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds. He shot 35.8 percent from 3-point range and was a staggering 153 for 165 from the free-throw line (92.7 percent). The nation’s leader in free throws made, he goes into the Big West Tournament having made 46 consecutive free throws.

The Cal State Northridge duo of freshman Lamine Diane and sophomore Terrell Gomez rounded out the first team, and Diane made history by becoming the first player ever to win Big West Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season.

Originally from Dakar, Senegal, the 6-foot-7 Diane broke the Matadors’ single-season records for points (769), rebounds (344), field goals made (321), blocked shots (66) and double-doubles (19) while leading the Big West in points per game (24.8), rebounds per game (11.1) and blocks per game (2.1). Diane tied a CSUN Division I single-game record by scoring 39 points against Fullerton on Jan. 31. He led the nation in field goals made during the regular season and finished seventh in the nation in points and rebounds per game.

Last season’s Big West Freshman of the Year, Gomez enjoyed an outstanding sophomore season. He finished second in the Big West in points per game (19.2) and free-throw percentage (87.5) and led the league in 3-point field goals made (111) and minutes per game (37.8).

UCI guard Max Hazzard and Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad were named to the All-Big West second team, while UCI juniors Tommy Rutherford and Evan Leonard, Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe and Long Beach State seniors Mason Riggins and Bryan Alberts all received honorable mention accolades.

Ahmad, the 2015 Big West Freshman of the Year, is one of just five players in program history to earn all-conference honors three or more times during their careers and he’s the first to do so since Bobby Brown (2004-07).

Read more about UC Irvine’s Russell Turner, Jonathan Galloway, Elston Jones receive Big West Conference awards This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

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Cal State Fullerton drops Big West opener at Hawaii

HONOLULU — Khalil Ahmad had 24 points to lead four Cal State Fullerton players in double figures, but the Titans were outplayed after halftime, losing to Hawaii 79-68 in their Big West Conference opener on Wednesday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Sheriff Drammeh tied his career high with a season-high 23 points and Eddie Stansberry added 16 points for Hawaii (10-5, 1-0 Big West), which won its fourth consecutive game. Jack Purchase added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Brocke Stepteau had 10 points.

Fullerton (4-11, 0-1) led 34-31 at halftime, but the Rainbow Warriors outscored the Titans 48-34 after the intermission.

Kyle Allman Jr. added 14 points for Fullerton, which dropped to 1-10 on the road this season. Austen Awosika had 12 points and eight rebounds and Jackson Rowe had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Titans.

Fullerton returns home to face Big West favorite UC Irvine (12-4, 0-0) on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Titan Gym.

Beautiful spin and reverse from @dee_clare5. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/UY4YWMFqPS

— Titans Men’s Basketball (@FullertonMBB) January 10, 2019

In other Big West openers on Wednesday …

Cal State Northridge 84, UC Riverside 83: Terrell Gomez scored a career-high 32 points, missed a pair of free throws with five seconds left in a one-point game but wrapped up a last-second miss and CSUN held on for a road win at Riverside.

Gomez shot 11 for 17 from the floor, including 6 for 9 from 3-point range, and had three steals. Lamine Diane added 21 points for CSUN (7-10, 1-0 Big West) with eight rebounds and seven assists. Rodney Henderson Jr. scored 16 with eight boards and two steals.

The Matadors trailed by seven at the half, but Diane cut the score to 42-40 with a layup and hit a free throw for a 48-47 lead with just under 15 minutes left. He then scored seven points, sparking an 11-2 run and CSUN held on for the last 10 minutes.

Dikymbe Martin scored 25 to lead UCR (6-11, 0-1) but missed a 3-point attempt as time was running out. Menno Dijkstra added 14 points.

UC Santa Barbara 65, Cal Poly 56: Devearl Ramsey scored 19 points and JaQuori McLaughlin added 17 as UCSB won at home. Ramsey was 6 of 14 from the field for the Gauchos (12-3, 1-0), and McLaughlin made four 3-pointers. Ar’Mond Davis had 11 points and seven rebounds.

McLaughlin opened the game with a pair of 3-pointers and Davis added a third as the Gauchos surged to a 13-7 start. Another McLaughlin 3-pointer helped extend the margin to 20-10 midway through the half and the Gauchos held on for a 35-27 lead at the break.

Cal Poly battled back to tie the score at 46-all with 9:49 left but could never grab the lead. UCSB  took off again as a Davis 3-pointer, a McLaughlin dunk and a Ramsey layup helped build the lead to 65-51 with 1:25 left.

Donovan Fields scored 19 points with eight assists for the Mustangs (4-10, 0-1) who have lost five of their last six.

Read more about Cal State Fullerton drops Big West opener at Hawaii This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. SaddleBack Valley Shredding Service

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Cal State Fullerton drops Big West Conference opener at Hawaii

HONOLULU — Khalil Ahmad had 24 points to lead four Cal State Fullerton players in double figures, but the Titans were outplayed after halftime, losing to Hawaii 79-68 in their Big West Conference opener on Wednesday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Sheriff Drammeh tied his career high with a season-high 23 points and Eddie Stansberry added 16 points for Hawaii (10-5, 1-0 Big West), which won its fourth consecutive game. Jack Purchase added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Brocke Stepteau had 10 points.

Fullerton (4-11, 0-1) led 34-31 at halftime, but the Rainbow Warriors outscored the Titans 48-34 after the intermission.

Kyle Allman Jr. added 14 points for Fullerton, which dropped to 1-10 on the road this season. Austen Awosika had 12 points and eight rebounds and Jackson Rowe had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Titans.

Fullerton returns home to face Big West favorite UC Irvine (12-4, 0-0) on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Titan Gym.

Beautiful spin and reverse from @dee_clare5. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/UY4YWMFqPS

— Titans Men’s Basketball (@FullertonMBB) January 10, 2019

In other Big West openers on Wednesday …

Cal State Northridge 84, UC Riverside 83: Terrell Gomez scored a career-high 32 points, missed a pair of free throws with five seconds left in a one-point game but wrapped up a last-second miss and CSUN held on for a road win at Riverside.

Gomez shot 11 for 17 from the floor, including 6 for 9 from 3-point range, and had three steals. Lamine Diane added 21 points for CSUN (7-10, 1-0 Big West) with eight rebounds and seven assists. Rodney Henderson Jr. scored 16 with eight boards and two steals.

The Matadors trailed by seven at the half, but Diane cut the score to 42-40 with a layup and hit a free throw for a 48-47 lead with just under 15 minutes left. He then scored seven points, sparking an 11-2 run and CSUN held on for the last 10 minutes.

Dikymbe Martin scored 25 to lead UCR (6-11, 0-1) but missed a 3-point attempt as time was running out. Menno Dijkstra added 14 points.

UC Santa Barbara 65, Cal Poly 56: Devearl Ramsey scored 19 points and JaQuori McLaughlin added 17 as UCSB won at home. Ramsey was 6 of 14 from the field for the Gauchos (12-3, 1-0), and McLaughlin made four 3-pointers. Ar’Mond Davis had 11 points and seven rebounds.

McLaughlin opened the game with a pair of 3-pointers and Davis added a third as the Gauchos surged to a 13-7 start. Another McLaughlin 3-pointer helped extend the margin to 20-10 midway through the half and the Gauchos held on for a 35-27 lead at the break.

Cal Poly battled back to tie the score at 46-all with 9:49 left but could never grab the lead. UCSB  took off again as a Davis 3-pointer, a McLaughlin dunk and a Ramsey layup helped build the lead to 65-51 with 1:25 left.

Donovan Fields scored 19 points with eight assists for the Mustangs (4-10, 0-1) who have lost five of their last six.

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Cal State Fullerton coaches among Big West spring honorees

 

 

 

  • Cal State Fullerton coach John Elders celebrates his men’s team winning the 2018 Big West Conference track and field championship on May 12 at Cal State Northridge. Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics.

    Cal State Fullerton coach John Elders celebrates his men’s team winning the 2018 Big West Conference track and field championship on May 12 at Cal State Northridge. Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics.

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook before the Titans’ 10-9 victory over Long Beach State in the regular season finale at Blair Field in Long Beach on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook before the Titans’ 10-9 victory over Long Beach State in the regular season finale at Blair Field in Long Beach on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Kelly Ford reacts against Texas State in the fourth inning of the NCAA Division I softball regional championship at Easton Field on the campus of UCLA on Friday, May 18, 2018 in Los Angeles. Fullerton won 2-1. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

    Cal State Fullerton head coach Kelly Ford reacts against Texas State in the fourth inning of the NCAA Division I softball regional championship at Easton Field on the campus of UCLA on Friday, May 18, 2018 in Los Angeles. Fullerton won 2-1. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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As the spring sports seasons concluded, coaches for three Cal State Fullerton teams were among those receiving Big West Conference honors.

Baseball

Head coach Rick Vanderhook was named Big West Coach of the Year and Colton Eastman was named the league’s Pitcher of the Year.

Three players earned All-Big West First Team honors: Eastman, Blake Workman and Hank LoForte.

Vanderhook earned his fifth Big West Conference Coach of the Year honor after guiding Cal State Fullerton to its 22nd league title with an 18-6 mark. In earning the Big West’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Titans qualified for postseason for the 40th time in program history. The five honors by Vanderhook ties George Horton for the most in school history.

 

Softball

Head Coach Kelly Ford earned her third consecutive Big West Coach of the Year award this season, sharing it with Long Beach State Head Coach Kim Sowder.

Ford earned the award after leading Fullerton to its third-straight Big West Championship crown. It’s also the third consecutive season with the Titans earning 16-plus Big West victories.

Players Deshea Hill, Zoe Richard, Ari Williams and Bryanna Ybarra were named to the All-Big West first team.

Track & Field

Head Coach John Elders was selected as the Big West Men’s Coach of the Year for the second straight year and sprinter Rasaun House was named Men’s Freshman of the Year.

In his 30th year, Elders is the school’s longest-tenured head coach. He again was named Men’s Coach of the Year while leading his Cal State Fullerton program to a second consecutive Big West championship.

Tennis, golf

In women’s tennis, CSUF standout Genevieve Zeidan was named Big West Freshman of the Year.  Zeidan, Karla Portalatin and Sarah Nuno were honored on the Big West First-Team Singles. Portalatin and Nuno also won an honor together with a spot on the First Team for doubles play.

In men’s golf, Derek Castillo was named to the First Team All-Big West.

–Cal State Fullerton, Big West Conference

 

 

 

 

 

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Cal State Fullerton relay team advances to NCAA Championships, earns honorable mention All-America honors

Cal State Fullerton track and field’s men’s 4×100-meter relay team, competing May 26 at the NCAA Division I West Preliminaries at Sacramento State, advanced to the NCAA Championships this week in Eugene, Ore.

  • Marcel Espinoza competes in May at the NCAA Division I West Preliminary competition in Sacramento.
Photo courtesy Kirby Lee/Cal State Fullerton Athletics

    Marcel Espinoza competes in May at the NCAA Division I West Preliminary competition in Sacramento.
    Photo courtesy Kirby Lee/Cal State Fullerton Athletics

  • Thaddeus Smith competes in March
Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics

    Thaddeus Smith competes in March
    Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics

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  • Rasaun House competes in March.
Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics

    Rasaun House competes in March.
    Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics

  • Luis Matos competes at the Big West Track championships in Northridge in May.
Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics.

    Luis Matos competes at the Big West Track championships in Northridge in May.
    Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics.

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The quartet of Rasaun House, Thaddeus Smith, Luis Matos and Marcel Espinoza clocked a school-record time of 39.86 to earn third place in heat one and 10th place overall to automatically qualify for the semifinal round in Eugene. The previous school record was 40.10 and set in 2016.

It is the first time since 2003 that the Titans have sent a men’s 4×100-meter relay team to the NCAA Championships.

“The guys just ran phenomenal,” head coach John Elders said. “It was the first time we had a relay go under 40 seconds in school history and we actually were in first after the first two exchanges and really put the pressure on the other teams. So proud of these guys. We’re going to the show!”

In Eugene on Wednesday, the team earned honorable mention All-America honors.

The quartet of Luis Matos, Thaddeus Smith, Rasaun House and Marcel Espinoza clocked a time of 40.10 in the men’s 4×100-meter relay to take 21st place overall and earn honorable All-America accolades. That was the second-fastest time of the year for the squad. #TusksUp

— Titan Track & Field (@FullertonTFXC) June 7, 2018

Source: Cal State Fullerton

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Jace Chamberlin’s pinch-hit home run gives Cal State Fullerton walk-off win against Stanford

STANFORD — Jace Chamberlin hit a towering pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift Cal State Fullerton to a dramatic 2-1 victory over Stanford in a winner’s bracket game of the Stanford regional.late Saturday night at Sunken Diamond.

Chamberlin’s dramatic shot – the burly freshman’s first career homer – bounced off the scoreboard in right-center field. The win means the Titans (34-23) will play the Sunday night game (6 p.m.) against the winner of the Stanford-Baylor elimination game that takes place at 1 p.m. Should the Stanford-Baylor winner beat Fullerton on Sunday night, the teams would meet in a winner-take-all game on Monday at 7 p.m.

Both starters were superb. Fullerton’s Tommy Wilson held Stanford to one run on three hits in six innings. He struck out six with no walks. The Cardinal’s Kris Bubic went seven innings (130 pitches), also allowing one run on three hits. He struck out 10 and walked two.

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The Titans, who were designated the home team, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Hank LaForte and Mitchell Berryhill led off the game with back-to-back singles. Daniel Cope’s sacrifice fly scored LaForte.

Wilson only allowed one hit in the first five innings but Alec Wilson got to him leading off the sixth with a double. Tim Tawa’s triple tied the score. Fullerton third baseman Brett Borgogno made a huge play when he snared a hot grounder off the bat of Nico Hoerner and dove to tag Tawa, who had no time to get back, which probably short-circuited any further scoring.

Stanford is the No. 2 national seed in the 64-team tournament.

Much more to come on this story.

🐘 TITANS WIN ON A WALK-OFF! 🐘#RoadToOmaha pic.twitter.com/fNRXu8yezi

— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 3, 2018

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