When Senior guard Lorenzo Keeler said the contest against Cal State Fullerton was going to be physical battle, he wasn’t kidding.
The two teams were whistled for 47 combined fouls, went to the free throw stripe a combined 69 times and three players fouled out of the game. The difference between the two teams was the titans shot 82 percent from the line while the Mustangs shot 59 percent.
The Mustangs (5-10, 2-2 Big West) churned out a cold 33 field goal percentage in their 68-54 loss against Cal State Fullerrton (8-7,3-1), Thursday night. While the Titans held just a 37 field goal percentage, they were able to sink the buckets down the stretch to put their team of sole possession of first place of the Big West.
Keeler finished the game with a team-high 13 points. He converted two shots out of11 from the field, but sank seven of 10 shots from the foul line. Keeler also added two three pointers.
Junior Shawn Lewis added 12 points, four rebounds and three assists, before he fouled out of the game.
Gerard Anderson led four Cal State Fullerton players in double figures with 20 points. Jer’Vaughn Johnson added 17 while Bryce Webster and Devon Peltier each added 11.
Anderson hit four of eight from the floor and 12 of 16 from the line. Johnson was four of 13 from the floor and nine of 11 from the line.
Jordan Lewis led the Mustangs with five rebounds while Johnson recorded a double-double for the Titans with 10 rebounds.
The Mustangs opened the game with the hot hand hitting four of their first five shots and held a 13-4 lead with just under 15 minutes to play in the first half.
Cal State Fullerton fought back with a 16-5 run to take a 20-18 lead Gerard Anderson converted a pair at the line. The Mustangs broke the run when Jordan Lewis hit a jumper in the paint and tied the game at 20-20 with just under four minutes left in the half.
The Mustangs regained the lead when Justin Brown made a three-pointer with 2:23 left. The teams traded buckets, but a three by Peltier gave the Titans a 27-25 lead at the half.
Shawn Lewis tied the game with a jumper to open the second half at 27-27. The Titans responded by outscoring the Mustangs 7-2 and held a five point lead, 34-29, behind two buckets by Webster.
A breakaway dunk by Anderson gave the Titans a 53-39 lead with 7:40 left in the game, forcing a Cal Poly timeout and giving Fullerton its largest lead of the game at 14 points.
Cal Poly pulled within five, 57-52, with 2:07 on the clock when Shawn Lewis converted a jumper, but would get no closer as the Mustangs’ lost a game riddled with fouls.
The Mustangs return to the court when they travel to Long Beach State for a game on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 4 pm.