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Titans Short-handed in Overtime : Fouls, Injuries Force McQuarn to Clear Bench in Defeat

February 15, 1987|JIM McCURDIE | Times Staff Writer

Richard Morton, Eugene Jackson and Alexander Hamilton fouled out. Henry Turner was carried out. Derek Jones sat this one out, still trying to located his dislocated left shoulder.

By the end of Cal State Fullerton's 78-69, overtime loss to UC Irvine Saturday night in Bren Center, the Titans were left with players who have watched considerably more basketball than they have played this season. Because of a series of misfortunes, some of them self-imposed, the Titans were undermanned in overtime, and paid the ultimate price.

Fullerton Coach George McQuarn knew he would be without Jones, the junior forward who suffered a dislocated shoulder in Thursday's loss to Nevada Las Vegas. What he didn't know is that the Titans would reach and grab their way to 14 first-half fouls, and 28 by game's end. Or that Turner, his leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, would end up writhing in pain directly in front of him, his left ankle throbbing.

Turner was injured when he and teammate Vincent Blow went in the air for a loose ball, and Blow apparently came down on Turner's ankle. He was eventually carried off the floor and left the arena on crutches with a badly sprained left ankle. X-rays will determine how long he will join Jones on the Titans' newly formed disabled list. "It's really bad," McQuarn said. "We'll know how bad tomorrow."

Turner's injury and Fullerton's foul mood left McQuarn in a quandary in the game's late stages. "We had guys on the floor who just shouldn't be there," he said.

Guard Chris Ceballos played five minutes. That's more than he's played in the last four games combined. Rodney Smith, who had previously played 11 minutes in the Titans' 13 Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. games, played 6.

And this was a game the Titans came within one Jackson free throw of winning? After tying it at 66-66 with five seconds left in regulation with a jumper over Irvine's Scott Brooks, Jackson had a chance to win it from the foul line, but his free throw bounced off the front of the rim. Irvine outscored a depleted group of Titans, 12-3, in overtime.

"We got the first three points in overtime, then we couldn't do anything," McQuarn said.

The loss has forced McQuarn to abandon his team's goal of losing only to UNLV in the last 10 games of the regular season. And the injury to Turner causes him concern about attrition. Deja vu? Last season, the Titans limped through much of their PCAA schedule without star guard Kevin Henderson, and with Morton on and off the injured list.

"No question about it," he said. "We've lost two starters. But that's the way it's been as long as I've been at Fullerton. It's always been something."

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