Jan. 10, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Josh Akognon scored 20 of his 29 points in the second half as visiting Cal State Fullerton rallied from a 13-point first half deficit to defeat UC Santa Barbara in a Big West game on Saturday night, 62-58.
The Titans (8-8 overall, 2-2 in the Big West) trailed UCSB (7-9 overall, 1-3 in the Big West) 31-18 15 minutes into the game. They outscored the Gauchos 12-6 over the final five minutes of the first half to cut the advantage to 37-30 and set themselves up for the decisive second half.
Akognon, who made just 3-of-10 shots in the first half, hit 7-of-12 in the second half, including 4-of-7 from three-point territory, to Fullerton. It was his three-pointer with 13:07 to play that gave Fullerton its first lead of the game, 46-44. Santa Barbara reclaimed the lead three times in the final 13 minutes, but Akognon's three-pointer with 9:29 left gave his team the lead for good, 53-52.
"I can't figure out what it is with the second half," said Gaucho coach Bob Williams. "We come out so well in the first half and then we just can't push through it in the second half."
Santa Barbara jumped out to a 9-0 lead early in the first half, but the turnovers and cold shooting in the second half gave them their third loss in the last four games. The Gauchos made 53.6% of their shots in the first half, but just 27.8% (5-for-18) in the second half. They finished at 43.5%. The Titans shot 41.4% for the game.
The loss is UCSB's third in the last four games while the win was Fullerton's second on a row.
The Gauchos return to action on Saturday, Jan. 17 when they travel to Cal Poly for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Mustangs.