Titans Overwhelmed in the Second Half

Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team hung with the UCLA Bruins longer than anyone expected, but reality and fatigue set-in in the second half.

The Titans lost to top-ranked UCLA, 78-54, in a nonconference men's basketball game Tuesday night at Pauley Pavilion.

The Titans are now 0-9 lifetime against the Bruins, with all nine games played at UCLA.

The Bruins (7-0), ranked No. 1 in the nation by the AP and ESPN/Coaches polls, did not play like a No. 1 team at the beginning but managed to hold CSUF to 21 points in the second half to get the win.

"We came out and we were playing tough. We kept our composure, we didn't let our emotions get to us and fatigue set in," Titan point guard Bobby Brown said. "It's real disappointing. We come in here, we're ready to play and to lose by 24 points … it's terrible."

The Titans (5-2) controlled the beginning of the game. They got out to a 14-4 start and were the more active team on defense. Brown, who had a team-high 18 points, scored five of those points and was setting the defense tone for the team.

While the start gave Titan fans enough confidence to start chanting "oh-ver-rated," Titan Head Coach Bob Burton knew better.

"I just know it's a long game," he said. "They don't panic and if it's a close game they are really going to go forward with it."

That's what UCLA did. The regained their composure, got tougher on defense and began to force turnovers. And as the Titans turned the ball over, they turned over the lead.

The Bruins went on a 17-2 run to take the lead and control of the game.

They asserted themselves when Arron Afflalo (game-high 21 points) hit back-to-back three pointers - the second of which tied the game at 16-all with 12:15 left.

"Affalo hitting those two threes back to back allowed them to get into a little rhythm," Titan guard Ray Reed said. "He's a great player. He played with a lot of confidence and takes big shots."

No shot was probably bigger than the one Afflalo hit right before halftime to put the Bruins up by six points, 39-33.

On the play Reed trailed the UCLA star all down the court, but gave up an open shot when he went for a block.

Burton went to Reed immediately after the play and stopped him on the court.

"I told him he did a terrific job on pressuring all the way down the court, but you can't leave your feet," Burton said. "He went for a fake and went right by him and that's the last thing you can."

The shot set the tone for the second half as the Bruins just took over. They limited the Titans to eight field goals made and forced them 14 turnovers.

CSUF ended with 28 turnovers in the game and only had two players that played more than two minutes, not turn the ball over. They shot 21 of 56 (27.5 percent) from the field and only made 5 of 17 from behind the three-point line.

"The main thing we wanted to do is come out with a good start and not let up," said Scott Cutley, who had 11 points (all in the first half) and seven rebounds. "We wanted to keep the focus, but we just didn't execute. Especially in the second half."

Burton said he coached differently than he normally does and the change contributed to the team's lack of stamina at the end of the game.

"I felt we had to keep our best player in the first half to keep in it, and that's not really what I wanted to do," Burton said. "It really affected us in the second half because our guys were really tired. They really hit a wall and that's where [UCLA] really took it away."

Cutley said that fatigue did play a role in the team's play in the second half.

"But that's where you find out who the good teams are and who are not," Cutley said. "When we learned to fight through the turmoil, when they are making their runs and stuff, and we comeback with a run of our own that's when we'll be good."