A back-and-forth affair between Hawaii and Cal State Fullerton swung the Rainbow Warriors’ way late and UH stunned the Titans 77-75 tonight at Titan Gym in Fullerton, Calif.
On CSUF’s homecoming night, both teams established and lost double-figure leads, but it was UH (13-9, 7-4 Big West) which stormed back when it mattered to win three in a row on the road for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
UH shook off some shaky free-throw shooting late when CSUF (11-11, 4-6) went to fouling and maintained sole possession of third place in the BWC with the win.
The Titans trailed 77-72 in the final seconds but guard D.J. Seeley hit a 3-pointer with two seconds left. CSUF took a foul and Hauns Brereton went to the free-throw line with 1.1 seconds to go. He missed the first foul shot, then intentionally missed the second and the Titans’ fullcourt heave to win was well off the mark.
The ‘Bows completed their longest road stretch of the season (four straight) with a 3-1 record after getting blown out by 29 at Cal Poly last week. Up next is league leader Long Beach State (13-8, 9-1) on Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Junior forward Christian Standhardinger led UH with 18 points and eight rebounds. Senior center Vander Joaquim came on late with his eighth double-double of the season, 15 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman forward Isaac Fotu and junior swingman Brereton added 13 points apiece.
It was UH’s second straight season sweep of a BWC opponent after besting UC Riverside in another comeback on Thursday. UH edged the Titans 90-88 on Jan. 5 in Honolulu.
CSUF, the third-highest-scoring team in the country, led by 12 points early in the second half and 62-52 with 8:19 to play. But UH took advantage of slow-down tactics by the Titans and got to within 62-60 on three straight baskets by Joaquim with under six minutes to play.
Brereton had the go-ahead 3-pointer at 65-64 with 3:30 to play, and Brandon Spearman (11 points) followed with another trey for a four-point lead.
CSUF got to within one point from there and had to go to fouling, and UH narrowly held on.
UH enjoyed a 33-23 advantage with under five minutes to play in the first half, but CSUF came back in a hurry.
The Titans outscored the ‘Bows 16-2 to close the half in taking a 39-35 lead at the break.
Kwame Vaughn led the Titans with 19 points, while Seeley added 18 and Sammy Yeager 17 for CSUF.
The smaller Titans actually outrebunded UH 38-33, but the Rainbow Warriors cleaned up their turnovers and won that battle 14-13.