Jamaal's Clutch Finish Gives Titans 1-Point Win

Cal State Fullerton win's their fifth game in a row over cross-twon rival UC-Irvine.

Jamaal Brown's short bank shot gave Cal State Fullerton the lead with 25 seconds to play and his two free throws with six seconds remaining proved decisive Thursday night as the Titans escaped with a 71-70 Big West Conference victory at UC Irvine, thanks in great part to a television replay.

The win extended Fullerton's win streak to five games, its best since 1998-99, and improved its record to 13-7, its best after 20 games since the 1982-83 team was 16-4. Fullerton is now 7-4 in Big West play to open a one-and-a-half game lead over Idaho for fourth place.

Brown finished with 22 points, making 10 of 11 shots from the floor. Ross Schraeder led the Anteaters with 21 points while center Greg Ethington had 16.

UCI had overcome 16-point deficit at the 11-minute mark and twice took 1-point leads, the last at 68-67 with 1:41 to play on two Davis Baker free throws.

After Brown's bucket put the Titans ahead, 69-68, UCI fouled him on an inbounds play after Fullerton had collected a defensive rebound. He made both ends of the bonus situation.

Schraeder was fouled attempting an awkward shot with 1.2 seconds remaining. Officials at first were going to award him three free throws. But Fullerton Coach Bob Burton asked the referees to check the replay from KVMD and, on the third angle, it was determined that Schraeder's right foot was on the 3-point line. He made both free throws.

Ralphy Holmes was fouled on the inbounds pass with two-tenths of a second to go and he purposely missed the free throw to prevent UCI from attempting a tip-in play on an inbounds pass.

Holmes scored 17 points and Bobby Brown had 10 despite making only 3 of 12 shots and committing 7 turnovers to go with 1 assist. Yaphett King led all rebounders with 11, but it was reserving Justin Burns stepping up with a career-high 10 rebounds, all in the first half, to go with 6 points and a blocked shot.

Fullerton used an early 9-0 spurt to turn an 11-8 deficit into a17-11 advantage and the Titans led the rest of the half. They scored the first six points after intermission for a 12-point lead and gradually extended it to 56-40.

But a stretch of six consecutive turnovers contributed mightily to an 11-0 Anteaters' run that got the hosts back in the game. at 56-51. Bobby Brown made a 3-pointer to stop the run and back-to-back buckets by Holmes built the lead back to 10 points at 65-55 with 5:18 remaining. Again UCI went on an 11-0 run to take a 66-65 lead at 3:02 on a trey by Baker.

Jamaal Brown countered with a layup before Baker made his free throws for the final UCI lead.

Fullerton's win was its third in a row on the road. The last time the Titans won three games on hostile courts in succession without the interruption of a home game was in 1974-75, Fullerton's first year of Div. I play and all three wins came over non-Div. I foes (CSU Bakersfield, Cal State L.A. and Cal Poly Pomona). Results with game sites are available only back to the 1971-72 season and in 1963-64 and in none of those seasons has Fullerton won four road games in succession. The Titans have a chance to do it Saturday at 5:05 p.m. at Long Beach State.

The Fullerton win also avenged a 97-81 UCI victory on Jan. 15 in Titan Gym and it was its first in the Bren Center since 1999-2000.