Cal Poly bounces Cal State Fullerton from Big West Tournament

  • Cal Poly’s Colby Rogers drives with the ball as Cal State Fullerton’s Tray Maddox Jr. defends during Tuesday night’s Big West Tournament first-round game at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Cal Poly won, 87-82. (Photo courtesy of the Big West Conference)

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    Tuukka Jaakkola goes up for a high-percentage shot during Tuesday night’s game against Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Tournament first-round game at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of the Big West Conference)

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  • Cal State Fullerton’s Landis Spivey attempts a 3-point shot during Tuesday night’s Big West Tournament first-round game against Cal Poly at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Cal Poly won, 87-82. (Photo courtesy of the Big West Conference)

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  • Cal Poly’s Keith Smith evades the defense of Cal State Fullerton’s Landis Spivey as he soars to the basket during Tuesday night’s Big West Tournament first-round game at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Cal Poly won, 87-82. (Photo courtesy of the Big West Conference)

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The Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team had a great finish in its Big West Tournament first-round game against Cal Poly on Tuesday night.

It was the start that led to the Titans’ early exit.

Tenth-seeded Cal Poly opened the game with a 17-3 run and just kept running all night, turning in its best game of the season in an 87-82 victory over the seventh-seeded Titans at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

The Titans trailed by 13 with 3:39 left, then furiously fought back to get within three points with 55 seconds left. After a Cal Poly miss, Landis Spivey had his 3-point shot blocked out of bounds by Cal Poly’s Riley Till. Spivey’s second effort on the ensuing inbounds play was off-balance, and the Mustangs (4-19) put the game away with two free throws.

Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor had a lot of good things to say about Cal Poly’s effort, since former Titans assistant John Smith is the Mustangs’ head coach. Taylor just lamented that his team didn’t play its best game.

“Cal Poly established themselves on offense, shot the 3-pointers especially well and they were good in the paint,” said Taylor, whose team finished 6-10. “We didn’t get much done there.

“We had good energy late. But we weren’t the lead dog. We let things happen instead of making them happen. They got wide-open shots and we didn’t make the extra effort to get to them, not with our rotation or our communication.”

Cal Poly becomes the first No. 10 seed to win a Big West tourney game since 1994 – the tournament had been using an eight-team bracket (or six) since 1995 before changing the format this year. The Mustangs advance to face No. 2 seed UC Irvine (16-8) in a quarterfinal on Thursday at 5 p.m.

The Titans received fine efforts from two reserves: Spivey scored 17 points and Tory San Antonio had 16, each making four 3-pointers. Dante Maddox Jr. added 15 points, while Tray Maddox Jr. had a rough night shooting, scoring eight points on 2-for-14 shooting.

Cal Poly, which was 1-15 during conference play, turned in its best effort of the season by far. The Mustangs averaged just 60 points per game this season and were not particularly efficient from the 3-point line, shooting 30 percent.

But they were aggressive from the start. They made 12 of 18 3-point attempts and were led by Colby Rogers (a career-high-tying 21 points), Alimamy Koroma (18 points), Keith Smith (10 points, six assists), Tuukka Jaakkola (10 points) and Kobe Sanders (10 points). They outscored the Titans 30-8 on fast-breaks and had 30 points in the paint.

“We took advantage of things against their defense and attacked them in press, which led to some easy baskets,” Poly coach Smith said. “I preached to them that we could win if we stayed disciplined and resilient. We really embraced the moment.”

For Fullerton, it was a disappointing end to a pandemic-disrupted season.

“It’s a tough way to go out,” Taylor said. “You get to this point, you hate to see it. But we deserved what we got.”

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Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside basketball teams cancel Friday-Saturday series

The Big West Conference men’s basketball games between host Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside scheduled for Friday and Saturday have been canceled “out of an abundance of caution” due to COVID-19 protocol concerns, the schools announced Thursday evening.

At this time, there are no plans to reschedule the games, though some Big West teams have been able to reschedule matchups this season when two teams both have opponents forced to back out of games during the same week (as happened when Fullerton and Cal State Northridge quickly coordinated a two-game series last month).

No information was available on which program was dealing with a potential positive test, but neither team indicated they were beginning an immediate quarantine and both announced they expect to play their scheduled games next week.

Fullerton is next scheduled to play at Cal Poly (SLO) on Feb. 12-13, with both games scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. UCR is scheduled to host UC Irvine on Feb. 12-13, with the latter a 9 p.m. game to be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.

COVID-related scheduling issues have been a struggle nationwide since the college basketball season started in late November, and the Big West is no different. Teams have seen a number of games postponed or canceled and the conference has moved its men’s and women’s postseason basketball tournaments, played in Anaheim every year since 2001, to Las Vegas this March.

The tournaments will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on March 9-13, in a bubble environment that will include daily COVID-19 screening and testing and will enable participants to walk from the hotel to the arena without outside contact.

While the basketball season has had its scheduling hurdles amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Big West last week announced return to play and scheduling protocols for several spring sports teams (baseball, softball, men’s volleyball and women’s water polo) to begin competing soon.

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Cal State Fullerton wins at Cal State Bakersfield, surviving frantic finish

BAKERSFIELD — Freshman guard Dante Maddox Jr. scored a season-high 22 points and junior guard Tray Maddox Jr. had 21 as Cal State Fullerton defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 90-84, on Friday night, surviving a late scare while earning an impressive Big West Conference road win.

Freshman point guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. added a career-high 18 points for Fullerton (5-5 overall, 4-5 Big West), which got 86 of its points from five players. Senior forward Josh Hall added 14 points and nine rebounds, and sophomore guard Tory San Antonio had 11 points.

There were 14 ties and 19 lead changes in the nationally televised game, but both teams picked up the pace in the second half and that worked out for the Titans, who shot 63 percent from the floor after halftime.

With the score tied at 61 with 9:32 left, Fullerton went on a 21-10 run to open an 82-71 lead with 1:43 left. Fullerton still led by nine after a pair of Wrightsell free throws with 29 seconds left, but the hosts made one last push.

Travis Henson and Justin McCall combined for five points in seven seconds to help the Roadrunners (10-6, 6-3) trim the margin to 88-84, and they had a chance to cut the deficit to one possession after the Titans missed two free throws with 15 seconds left. Bakersfield’s Taze Moore got a clean look at the rim but San Antonio came up with a crucial block on his layup attempt. After securing the rebound, Dante Maddox scored his last two points at the free-throw line with eight seconds left to help secure the win.

Both teams set season-bests for scoring in the second half. Fullerton had 58 second-half points, while Bakersfield had 54.

Fullerton was outrebounded 31-23 but had a considerable advantage in free-throw attempts in a game that featured 47 personal fouls, going 27 for 37 (73 percent) at the line while Bakersfield was just 11 for 14. The Titans also tied a season-best with 11 3-pointers (on 20 attempts). Fullerton finished the night shooting 52 percent overall (26 for 50), while the Roadrunners were even better at 55.9 percent (33 for 59) overall. Bakersfield was 7 for 17 from beyond the arc.

Dante Maddox finished 4 for 7 from the field, going 3 for 5 from 3-point range and 11 for 14 from the free-throw line. Tray Maddox was 7 for 10 overall, including a 5-for-5 showing from distance. Wrightsell was 5 for 11 from the field and 7 for 7 at the free-throw line, playing 34 minutes without turning the ball over.

McCall scored a career-high 20 points to pace Bakersfield (10-6, 6-3). Moore added 16 points and seven rebounds, while Justin Edler-Davis had 14 points and Henson had 10.

The teams square off again on Saturday at 7 p.m., also at Bakersfield.

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Cal State Fullerton bounces back for series split with CSUN

A night after being scolded by Coach Dedrique Taylor for a lack of effort, the Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team bounced back on Sunday with a complete-game victory over Cal State Northridge, 85-77, at Titan Gym.

The Titans lost the opener of the two-game Big West Conference series on Saturday night despite CSUN being without its two leading scorers, and Taylor lamented his team’s lack of intensity.

“They responded the right way and were really scrappy against a good team,” Taylor said following Sunday’s win. “We didn’t really talk about offense or defense before the game, just doing what we do in practice and playing hard.”

Sunday’s rematch was close throughout, but the Titans finally took control with a late run. Leading 68-67 with 4:48 left, they outscored the Matadors 13-6, Vincent Lee scoring seven points and Dante Maddox Jr. and Tory San Antonio hitting 3-pointers. That gave the Titans (3-4 overall, 2-4 Big West) an eight-point lead with 1:48 left and the Matadors couldn’t get closer than six points the rest of the way.

Lee led the team with a career-high 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting while grabbing 11 rebounds. Lance Spivey added 13 points off the bench, Maddox had 11 off the bench and San Antonio had 10.

“We did a good of finding Vincent inside,” Taylor said of the 6-foot-8 sophomore forward. “I think we can score enough, but we have to buy in to playing the right way. We know what Vincent can do. We have enough guys who can shoot and score inside, we just have to have more of an effort to playing hard.”

The Matadors (5-4, 1-1) were again without TJ Starks (18.1 ppg) and Lance Coleman (15.7 ppg), and the Titans put a wall around guard Brendan Harrick, who made seven 3-pointers on Saturday. Miles Brookins (6.3 ppg) also missed the game for CSUN.

Darius Brown scored 14 points with six rebounds and seven assists for CSUN. Vante Hendrix scored 14 and Atin Wright had 22 points off the bench.

“We played really hard but I think we’ve got to get a little smarter at times,” CSUN coach Mark Gottfried said. “We had some critical errors but our effort was there. We had some guys out and people stepped up. Atin stepped in there and had a phenomenal game, George (Nwogu) got a few minutes – he hadn’t played a whole lot.

“When Festus (Ndumanya) got in foul trouble that hurt us some. We’re still learning, we have to get better defensively, we have to get a little better at executing our offense and getting the right shot. There’s no way I could fault our effort, we just came up a little bit short.”

UP NEXT

Cal State Fullerton is scheduled to host Hawaii on Friday and Saturday, with both games at 3 p.m.

CSUN is scheduled to host UC Santa Barbara on Friday and Saturday, with both games at 4 p.m.

.@vincemikelee on the team win and his individual performance. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/zwhcfIPKEA

— Titans Men’s Basketball (@FullertonMBB) January 18, 2021

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Cal State Fullerton can’t match UCSB’s balance in Big West opener

SANTA BARBARA — Junior guard Trey Maddox Jr. had a career-high 27 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough for Cal State Fullerton as UC Santa Barbara used a balanced attack and pulled away in the second half to defeat the Titans, 81-63, in a Big West Conference game on Friday night at the Thunderdome.

The Gauchos led by seven at halftime, then took control in the second half when Miles Norris punctuated a 13-2 run with a fast-break dunk that pushed the margin to 51-35 with 10:29 left. The Titans never got closer than 11 the rest of the way and the margin was extended to 21 in the final five minutes.

Maddox scored Fullerton’s first 10 points and finished 11 for 16 from the field, including a 5-for-8 mark from 3-point range, in 35 minutes. Sophomore Vincent Lee added 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting and grabbed four rebounds for the Titans (1-1 overall, 0-1 Big West), who were playing their first game since Dec. 13 because of a 14-day quarantine for COVID-19 test results. Senior Josh Hall had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Ajare Sanni led UCSB (5-3, 1-2) with 19 points (13 in the second half), four rebounds and five assists. He was 8 for 11 from the field, including 3 for 3 from 3-point range. JaQuori McLaughlin had 13 points and six assists, and Norris had 13 points and three blocked shots. Amadou Sow had 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting despite being limited to 17 minutes because of foul trouble. Robinson Idehen added seven points and nine rebounds.

Fullerton had 17 turnovers and just 10 assists. UCSB shot 53.1% overall, including 20 for 31 (64.5%) in the second half. The Gauchos, who dropped their first two Big West games at UC Irvine on Sunday and Monday, were an efficient 5 for 9 from 3-point range after halftime. UCSB had a season-high nine steals and just 12 turnovers to go with 22 assists.

The Titans and Gauchos play the second game of their two-game series on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Thunderdome. The game can be streamed on ESPN3.

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UC Irvine basketball atop Big West preseason media poll

For the fourth consecutive season – and seventh in the last eight – the UC Irvine men’s basketball team is the choice to win the Big West Conference regular-season title in the preseason media poll.

UCI received 18 first-place votes from the 28-member media panel to top the annual poll with 270 points. UC Santa Barbara finished second with 254 points (nine first-place votes). The remaining first-place nod went to UC Davis, which came in third with 182 points. Hawaii placed fourth with 165 points, followed by UC Riverside in fifth (160) and Long Beach State in sixth (141). First-year Big West member Cal State Bakersfield was seventh. Cal State Northridge (102 points), Cal State Fullerton (95) and Cal Poly (54) rounded out the rest of the poll, respectively.

UC San Diego, in its inaugural season as a Big West member, has started a four-year reclassfication period from NCAA Division II to Division I. The Tritons will not be recognized in the standings, so they were not included in the poll.

UCI (21-11 overall, 13-3 Big West last season), returns 53 percent of its scoring offense and two all-conference players (junior forward Collin Welp and senior center Brad Greene). Coming off their eighth consecutive winning season and a second straight Big West regular-season title, the Anteater roster includes 13 underclassmen and five new faces.

Welp, the 2019-20 Big West Sixth Man of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection, is UCI’s top returning scorer after averaging 13 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting from the field. Last season, Welp led the team in 3-point field goal percentage (44.2 percent) and was second in rebounding (5.9 rpg). Greene averaged 9 points and a Big West-best 7.7 rebounds per game. His 1.4 blocked shots per game ranked second in the conference.

Welp and Long Beach State junior guard Chance Hunter were named to the media’s six-player preseason all-conference team.

Hunter led LBSU (11-21, 6-10 last season) in scoring (13.9 ppg) and ranked in the conference’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding (5.9 rpg), field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage (41.7 percent) last season.

UC Riverside’s Arinze Chidom, UC Davis’ Ezra Manjon and the UCSB duo of JaQuiri McLaughlin and Amadou Sow joined Welp and Hunter on the preseason all-conference team.

UCI opens the season with a neutral site game against Pepperdine on Nov. 25 at San Diego State’s Viejas Arena. The Anteaters square off with host SDSU two days later.

BIG WEST PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

1. UC Irvine (18 first-place votes) – 270

2. UC Santa Barbara (9) – 254

3. UC Davis (1) – 182

4. Hawaii – 165

5. UC Riverside – 160

6. Long Beach State – 141

7. Cal State Bakersfield – 117

8. Cal State Northridge – 102

9. Cal State Fullerton – 95

10. Cal Poly (SLO) – 54

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Cal State Fullerton women focus on future after Big West tourney loss to Hawaii

  • After finding the lane blocked by a Hawaii defender, Cal State Fullerton forward Amiee Book passes the ball off during a Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinal game on Wednesday night at Long Beach State. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 takes a shot in the first half against Hawaii in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

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  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 works her way to the basket in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Hawaii guard Julissa Tago #0 stretches for a rebound against CSU Fullerton in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 finds her shot blocked by a Hawaii defender in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton forward Amiee Book #13 tries to work her way to the basket against Hawaii in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Hawai’i head coach Laura Beeman chats with guard Nae Nae Calhoun #24 in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • A lone credentialed spectator watches the game from the upper row of the Walter Pyramid in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Hawaii forward Amy Atwell #25 takes a shot in the Walter Pyramid empty of fans in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada gets frustrated after a turnover in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 runs the offense in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 drives the ball to the basket around Hawaii guard Nae Nae Calhoun #24 in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton forward Carolyn Gill #23 loses the ball under her basket in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada watches from his bench in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton bench erupts after a 3-pointer in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez, right, has the ball stripped away by Hawai’i forward Myrrah Joseph #5 in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton forward Madison Freemon #22 reaches for a rebound against Hawaii in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton and Hawaii in a spectator free area in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Taylor Turney #21 scores on a layup in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

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LONG BEACH — The revival of women’s basketball at Cal State Fullerton took a pause Wednesday night. But Coach Jeff Harada says that is all it will be.

The Titans posted their first winning season since 1991 then won their first Big West Conference Tournament game since 2015 on Tuesday, but they were beaten by Hawaii 72-59 in their quarterfinal game at the Walter Pyramid.

They finish the season 17-14, return everyone for the 2020-21 season, and have learned a lot about winning games and handling adversity.

“I’m extremely proud of what they have accomplished this season,” said Harada, in his third season. “They put up with me every day, and I can be tough and don’t let them slide. But all that is why we are where we are.

“This doesn’t take away anything we accomplished this season.”

“We’ve gained so much confidence this season,” junior Taylor Turney said. “We were picked to finish ninth in the league, and we almost finished second and we got to the quarterfinals.

“We’ve already talked about what we can do next season, how we can take this further.”

The Titans were playing for the second time in as many days while Hawaii finished its season Saturday. The Rainbow Wahines have one of the deepest benches in the league; nine players rotated into the game and seven finished with seven points or more.

The score was tied at 6-6 when Hawaii went on a 12-1 run to take an 18-7 lead after a quarter, basically putting a hold on the game and allowing the Wahine to dictate the pace and keep Fullerton chasing.

The Titans made just two of 13 shots in the first quarter.

“They sped us up early and threw off our timing,” Harada said. “When we did get opportunities, we kind of rushed our shots. That was basically the game. The margin the last three quarters was just two points.”

Hawaii did whatever it could to take Big West Player of the Year Raina Perez out of the game, crowding her regardless of where she was on the court.

“They switched screens and built a wall around her so that she couldn’t even kick a pass out,” Harada said.

Perez scored 10 points and made just four of 20 shots for 10 points. Julissa Tago led Hawaii with 15 points, and Nae Calhoun had 10. Turney led the Titans with 16 points and Aimee Book added 14.

Hawaii coach Laura Beeman said the Wahine’s depth was a factor.

“We have two or three players on the bench who are good enough to start, but no one feels entitled because we use everyone,” she said. “We pick each other up knowing we have that much bench.”

The women’s tournament continues with semifinals on Friday afternoon at the Honda Center. Eighth-seeded Cal Poly, which defeated No. 3 seed UC Irvine, will face top-seeded UC Davis at noon and Hawaii will face No. 2 seed UC Santa Barbara at 2:30 p.m. The championship game is Saturday at 3 p.m.

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Cal State Fullerton women avenge earlier losses to CSUN in Big West tourney opener

LONG BEACH — Cal State Fullerton junior Taylor Turney had to make a frantic phone call a few hours before Tuesday’s Big West Conference women’s basketball tournament game against Cal State Northridge.

She had to call her parents, who were driving into Southern California from their home outside of Las Vegas. The conference decided Tuesday afternoon to prohibit spectators at all of this week’s men’s and women’s tourney games because of the coronavirus threat.

“I heard at practice,” she said. “What? No fans? My family was driving in. They were in Barstow and turned around. My mom was crying, but I think she’ll be OK.”

No doubt. Turney had a brilliant effort in the sixth-seeded Titans’ 67-52 first-round win at the Walter Pyramid, scoring 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting with three 3-pointers and nine rebounds to advance the team to a Wednesday quarterfinal against fourth-seeded Hawaii.

It was the first tourney win for Fullerton since 2015, on the heels of the program’s first winning season since 1991. The Titans snuffed out a seventh-seeded CSUN team that had swept the two regular-season meetings, this time holding the Matadors to 31 percent shooting and forcing 13 turnovers.

Turney stepped up on a night when Big West Player of the Year Raina Perez had shooting issues early but finished with 14 points, 11 assists, four steals and seven rebounds.

“It’s another step in learning how to win,” Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada said. “We lost the last two regular-season games and missed a chance to lock up the No. 2 seed, but it says a lot about the maturity of this team in learning how to win big games and put losses behind you.”

Fullerton (17-13) scored 32 of its 67 points in the paint and turned the ball over just seven times. Forwards Aimee Book (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Carolyn Gill (10 points, 3 blocked shots) also contributed.

Meghann Henderson led CSUN with 15 points and seven rebounds.

“They did a very good job tonight,” CSUN coach Justin Flowers said. “We had some defensive breakdowns and gave up too many easy field goals. It was different than the first two games.”

Perez and Turney have made a huge impact on the Titans’ program. Harada had to build a team from scratch and hit the transfer portal to find Perez, who started her career at Northern Arizona, and Turney, who started at San Jose State.

“They put a lot of emphasis on me tonight,” Perez said, “but you can impact the game in other ways. I started looking for my teammates instead of worrying about my shot. It was great to see the team pick me up.”

The conference decision to shutter the game from fans was a response to the growing number of coronavirus breakouts in Southern California. Only team personnel, game management, the media and a handful of ancillary personnel were in the Pyramid.

The first game between host Long Beach State and Cal Poly had an unusual feel. The second game, which didn’t start until nearly 9 p.m., was a bit more eerie, with the voices of coaches and the ESPN broadcast team the dominant sounds.

“It made it easier for me to talk to the defense,” Harada said. “I’m not sure if it help or hurt. I’m sure we had some fans who were sad because we’ve drawn a nice following this season.”

“It was awkward not having fans at the game, but in the end, the game’s the same,” CSUN’s Henderson said.

“I’m a coach. It didn’t affect me at all,” Flowers said. “I’m really not sure it was a big deal. It’s not a completely foreign thing for us when we play home games like this when (no) students are in school.”

Eighth-seeded Cal Poly will meet third-seeded UC Irvine in the first quarterfinal on Wednesday at 6 p.m. followed by Fullerton and Hawaii at approximately 8:30 p.m. The semifinals are Friday afternoon at the Honda Center, with the championship game scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m., also at the Honda Center.

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Cal State Fullerton gets big game from Johnny Wang in loss at Hawaii

HONOLULU — Junior forward Johnny Wang scored a career-high 21 points, but Cal State Fullerton fell behind by double-digits early in the second half and couldn’t erase the deficit in a 70-59 loss to Hawaii on Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Fullerton (10-18 overall, 5-8 Big West Conference) trailed just 38-36 at halftime, but the Rainbow Warriors (16-11, 7-6 Big West) extended the margin to 46-36 less than four minutes into the second half, and the Titans never got closer than six the rest of the way.

Fullerton had 22 turnovers (14 before halftime), which Hawaii converted into 18 points, and was outscored by nine points at the free-throw line (22-13).

Fullerton shot 20 for 41 (49 percent) overall, including a 6-for-18 mark (33 percent) from 3-point range, but the Titans were just 13 for 22 at the foul line (59 percent). Hawaii, which swept the season series from the Titans, shot 43 percent (22 for 51), and just 4 for 13 from beyond the arc but converted 22 of 27 free-throw attempts.

Wang finished 7 for 9 from the field and 6 for 6 from the free-throw line and also grabbed five rebounds. Senior guard Brandon Kamga had 12 points (eight in the first half) and three rebounds but struggled with turnovers and fouled out in 36 minutes. Senior forward Jackson Rowe had 13 points and three rebounds. Sophomore guard Wayne Arnold contributed eight points off the bench, all in the first half.

Drew Buggs paced Hawaii with 20 points. He opened the second half with two free throws and hit a jumper at the 16:07 mark to give the hosts their 46-36 lead.

The Titans trimmed the margin to six again with five minutes to play, but a Buggs jumper made it an 11-point game, Justin Webster followed with a 3-pointer, then Zigmars Raimo added a layup to make it 64-48. Hawaii maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Eddie Stansberry added 15 points for Hawaii and Weber had 10.

Fullerton next plays at Cal State Northridge on Saturday at 7 p.m., while Hawaii is home against UC Riverside the same night.

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Austen Awosika, Cal State Fullerton rout Cal State Stanislaus

FULLERTON — Senior guard Austen Awosika had a career-high 26 points and Cal State Fullerton rolled past Cal State Stanislaus 82-62 for a homecoming victory on Saturday night at Titan Gym.

Awosika, who shot 8 for 13 from the field and 9 for 11 from the foul line, added six rebounds and six assists. Awosika, whose previous high was 19 at St. Mary’s on Dec. 11, 2018, topped that with 20 in the first half.

Sophomore guard Wayne Arnold had 14 points (four 3-pointers), four rebounds and two assists for Fullerton (2-2), while senior guard Brandon Kamga added 12 points and nine rebounds and freshman guard Tory San Antonio had five points, eight rebounds, four steals and two assists.

Ty Davis had 16 points for the Warriors, an NCAA Division II program, and Darius Scott added eight points and seven rebounds.

The Titans led 42-34 at halftime before pulling away in the second half. They led 53-41 at the 14:38 mark when a 9-2 run extended the margin to 62-43.

Fullerton shot 50.8 percent (30 for 59) from the field and 80 percent (16 for 20) from the free-throw line. The Titans outrebounded the visitors 38-30 and assisted on 15 of their 30 baskets.

Fullerton does not play again until it hosts Hofstra next Sunday (Nov. 24) at 5 p.m.

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