Tigers Drop Final Home Game In A Heartbreaker, 69-68 to Cal State Fullerton
In its third straight home game decided in the final seconds, Pacific dropped a 69-68 decision to Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Feb. 23 in the Alex G. Spanos Center. The Tigers dropped to 11-16 on the season, 6-8 in Big West Conference play. Cal State Fullerton improved to 19-7, 10-3 in league play.
The Tigers took an early 5-0 lead after a three-pointer by junior Markus Duran and a layup from sophomoreKhalil Kelley. CSUF cut it back to 9-6, but a 6-1 stretch by the Tigers featuring four points from sophomoreRoss Rivera pushed the lead to 15-7. A 7-2 run by the Titans took the lead back to 17-16 with 10:01 to play in the half. Pacific answered again by scoring nine of the next 11 points to reclaim a 26-18 advantage. CSUF cut it back to five, but a jumper by junior Travis Fulton gave the Tigers their largest lead of the half (31-21) with 5:48 to play. Pacific's lead shrunk to four, but the Tigers were able to take it back to 41-35 at the break.
Pacific was able to push the lead back up 10 on two occasions, but a 9-0 Titan run made it a 52-51 Tiger lead with 12:17 to play. The Tigers responded with an 8-0 run, including a steal and layup by senior Marvin Cottonto make it 60-51 with 5:53 to play in the game. CSUF's D.J. Seeley scored on a layup followed by a couple of free throws from Rivera to keep the game at nine points (62-53) with 5:14 to play. The Titans would not miss from the field again, as they hit their final six shots to out-score Pacific 16-6 in the final stretch. Rivera hit another pair of free throws with 2:34 to play, but Isiah Umipig hit a 17-footer followed by a pair of three-pointers, including the game-winner with 13 seconds left in the game. Sophomore Andrew Bock and a chance to give the Tigers the lead in the final seconds, but his layup came off the rim.
Rivera led four Tigers in double figures with 17 points, hitting 13 of 14 free throws. Fulton had his third double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Kelley added 12 points and Duran had 10. Each team had 11 offensive rebounds as the Titans held a 35-33 rebounding edge. The Tigers shot 40.4 percent from the field, while CSUF improved late to 47.4 percent with makes in its final six shots.
After tonight's last home game of the year, the Tigers are next in action with their final road games, beginning with a game at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, March 2. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m start.