Cal State Fullerton Pulls Away from Cal Poly in Second Half Saturday

Cal State Fullerton Pulls Away from Cal Poly in Second Half Saturday
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal State Fullerton connected on 57 percent of its floor shots, made 23 more free throws than Cal Poly and outrebounded the Mustangs by 11 en route to an 80-63 victory in a Big West Conference men's basketball game Saturday night inside Mott Athletics Center.
 
Despite the lopsided numbers, Cal Poly was within six points at 63-57 as Kuba Niziol hit a three-pointer with 7:21 to play. The visiting Titans, however, went on a 17-6 run to close out the game.
 
Cal State Fullerton improved to 8-12 for the season and 4-2 in Big West games with the win. Cal Poly fell to 4-14 and 0-5.
 
Four Titans scored in double figures, led by senior guard Khalil Ahmad with 18 points, sinking 10 of 14 free throws. Junior forward Jackson Rowe added 15 points, hitting seven of eight floor shots, while senior guard Kyle Allman tallied 14 points and junior guard Austin Awosika 11.
 
Cal Poly was paced by Niziol, a senior forward, with 15 points off the bench, a season high. Junior guard Job Alexander (pictured above) also came off the bench and contributed a career-high 14 points while starters Donovan Fields and Mark Crowe added 11 and 10 points respectively.
 
For Fields, the senior guard scored in double figures for the 14th time this season, tops on the squad.
 
Cal State Fullerton made 26 of its 46 floor shots for 56.5 percent, the highest by a Mustang opponent this season, while holding Cal Poly to 42.2 percent efficiency (27 of 64). The Titans connected on just two of 10 three-pointers while the Mustangs were six of 22.
 
Cal State Fullerton's 35 free throw attempts are a Mustang season high for an opponent. The Titans made 26 for 74 percent while Cal Poly was just three of nine from the charity stripe.
 
The Titans outrebounded Cal Poly 39-28, paced by Rowe with nine and Dominik Heinzl with seven. Niziol grabbed seven boards for the Mustangs and junior forward Hank Hollingsworth added six.
 
Cal Poly turned the ball over just eight times, three fewer than the Titans.
 
Cal State Fullerton opened up a 12-point first-half lead at 35-23 with three minutes left before Cal Poly closed out the half with a 10-4 run, cutting the deficit to 39-33 at the break.
 
The Titans, who have won four straight games after a 4-12 start, never trailed in Saturday's contest and the game was tied just once at 2-2.
 
Cal Poly, which has lost five straight and nine of its last 10 games, visits UC Riverside on Thursday and CSUN on Saturday to continue Big West play.
 
Photo above of Job Alexander courtesy of Owen Main | www.fansmanship.com