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Cal Poly Rallies in Second Half But Falls to Cal State Fullerton 101-97

Cal Poly Rallies in Second Half But Falls to Cal State Fullerton 101-97

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Kyle Allman scored 30 points, including eight on a layup and six free throws in overtime, as Cal State Fullerton, which let a 12-point second-half lead slip away, earned a 101-97 victory over Cal Poly in a Big West Conference men's basketball game Saturday night before 2,513 inside Mott Athletics Center.

Donovan Fields sent the game into overtime by sinking two free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining in regulation, completing Cal Poly's comeback from a 73-61 deficit in the final five minutes and 16 seconds.

The Titans (9-5, 2-0 Big West) never trailed in overtime as Allman opened with his layup and sank two free throws with 4:17 to play for an 89-85 Cal State Fullerton lead.

Cal Poly (6-10, 1-1 Big West) had one chance to tie the game again in the final seconds, but Victor Joseph's three-point try with nine seconds left was blocked by Allman and the Titan junior iced the win with two free throws with three seconds left.

Jackson Rowe added 24 points, Khalil Ahmad 13 and Austen Awosika 10 for Cal State Fullerton.

The loss spoiled a career-high 33-point performance by Joseph (pictured above) even though he missed seven minutes of second-half play with a cut on his forehead. Joseph made 11 of 19 floor shots, including seven of 12 three-pointers, and was perfect on his four free throws.

Joseph's seven three-pointers are a career high and one shy of the school record. His 33 points are the most scored by a Mustang since Lorenzo Keeler tallied 38 at UC Irvine almost exactly eight years ago.

Joseph has scored in double figures in 15 of Cal Poly's 16 games and his point total Saturday night is one shy of the Big West high this year.

Fields finished with 23 points and six assists while Hank Hollingsworth, despite being held scoreless, blocked seven Cal State Fullerton shots, a Cal Poly record. It's the highest total by a Big West player this year and the fourth-highest total in Division I.

As a team, Cal Poly blocked nine Titan shots, a season high and one short of the school record.

Cal State Fullerton outrebounded Cal Poly 47-33, paced by Rowe with 12 and Allman with nine. Jakub Niziol grabbed seven boards for Cal Poly.

The Mustangs made six of their first eight three-point attempts for an 18-13 lead with 13:12 to play in the opening half. Cal Poly's 19 three-pointers (in 39 attempts) are two shy of the school record.

The Titans went on an 18-4 run to turn the game around, leading 31-22 with 5:46 to play on a layup by Arkim Robertson, and settled for a 42-33 advantage at the break.

Cal State Fullerton maintained its lead in the second half, going ahead 73-61 with 5:16 to play on a layup by Allman, before Cal Poly, which rallied from a 21-point first-half deficit to beat UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, mounted a similar rally against the Titans.

Marcellus Garrick, Luke Meikle, Joseph and Niziol all hit three-pointers and Fields added a pair as Cal Poly erased the 12-point Titan lead with a 24-12 run to close out the second half and force overtime.

Cal Poly shot 42.5 percent from the floor for the game (31 of 73), but Cal State Fullerton countered with 58 percent efficiency (36 of 62). The Titans also made 10 more free throws than Cal Poly, sinking 26 of 42 to the Mustangs' 16 of 19 efficiency from the line.

Cal Poly plays just one game next week, visiting Hawai'I on Wednesday night.