Ever since Big West Conference play started on Jan. 2, he has averaged 17.5 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 59 percent from the field.
Tonight was more of the same for Anderson as his game-high 20 points led the Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team to a 68-54 victory over visiting Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
For the Titans (8-7, 3-1 Big West), the game came down to their defense; holding the Mustangs to only 33.3 percent shooting.
“We’ve talked to them all year long about defense,” Titan Head Coach Bob Burton said. “If you play good defense, you’re always going to be in it.”
Although the Titans were successful on the defensive end of the floor, they shot a measly 37 percent for the game.
They had to depend on 30-of-37 shooting from the charity stripe.
CSUF was able to shut down Cal Poly SLO’s leading scorer and reigning Big West Player of the Week, senior guard Lorenzo Keeler to just 13 points on 2-of-11 field goals.
Senior guard Aaron Thompson shadowed Keeler all game and disrupted his rhythm.
“Aaron (Thompson) really stepped up. It probably took a lot out of his offense,” Burton said. “He had two points, but what he gave us defensively was way more important.”
Sophomore guard Jacques Streeter tries to dribble past a Cal Poly SLO defender. Photo by Chad Uemera/For the Daily Titan.
After Thompson fouled out with 3:12 left in the game, Anderson took on the challenge and produced the same result.
“They are both great defenders, and I wouldn’t want them to guard me because they’re both quick and athletic.” Burton said.
The Titans came out of the gate a step slow and in the first five minutes, Cal Poly SLO raced out to a 13-4 lead.
“We came out a little flat in the first half, we didn’t come out with enough intensity and that slowed down the game for us,” junior guard Devon Peltier said. “They slowed down our tempo and that’s not our game.”
Anderson changed that with a one-man fast break for a dunk and a block into the stands that boosted his team’s energy.
As the first half progressed, both teams continued to shoot horribly from the field as the score at halftime was 27-25 in favor of the Titans.
CSUF came out of the locker room with a different mindset and they frustrated Cal Poly SLO with their aggressive offense and swarming defense.
Anderson was getting into the lane at will and made a career-high 12 free throws, even though he came into the game shooting 56 percent on free throws.
“I want to be in the game when the game is on the line so I have to be able to make free throws,” Anderson said.
His teammates followed suit as CSUF was 24-for-28 on free throws in the second half.
“We got to the line because we just tried to attack them in the middle,” Anderson said. “Fortunately, they were just committing fouls and we were just trying to be aggressive.”
Although the Mustangs tried to forge a comeback with the lead down to five with 2:06 left, the Titans kept their cool and made free throws down the stretch to put the game away for good.
“I think Cal Poly did a terrific job, I think they were right where they wanted to be on the road in this game and made it close all the way,” Burton said. “If we didn’t make free throws and make plays I think they could’ve won the game.”
The Titans’ next game will be at Titan Gym on Saturday Jan. 16 against Cal State Northridge at 6:05 p.m.