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Fullerton Overruns Patten

December 22, 1999|LON EUBANKS

It was meant to be an easy game for Cal State Fullerton after a nine-day layoff for final exams.

It turned out to be exactly that after the first few minutes Tuesday night in Titan Gym.

Fullerton overwhelmed Patten College, 99-56, the Titans' most decisive victory since beating Brown by 46 points in 1987.

The victory was their third in four games at home and left them 3-5 for the season.

Matt Caldwell, the Titans' regular center, didn't start, but that might have kept it from being a runaway even more quickly. Caldwell came in with 6 1/2 minutes gone, and hammered the Lions for nine first-half points and finished with game-high 19. Ike Harmon had 18.

After Harmon converted two alley-oop dunks in the first half for a 39-13 cushion, there was no mystery about why Patten had been beaten by Point Loma Nazarene by 43 points and Fresno Pacific by 37 previously this season.

The Lions (2-9) shot only 25.3% on 19 of 75. Patten, an NAIA Division II school located in Oakland, made only six of 36 shots (16.7%) in the first half and trailed, 46-21, at halftime.

After that, it was only a question of whether the Titans would surpass the school-record winning margin of 52 points (91-39) against Seattle in the 1985-86 season. Fullerton led by 52 with slightly under four minutes left, but the Lions gained ground on the Titan reserves in the final three minutes.

"I just wanted to play, and have some fun tonight," Caldwell said. "We did that. We couldn't have done some of the things we did against a better defensive team."

Caldwell has been troubled by a sore right shoulder, and missed two days of practice this week. Titan Coach Bob Hawking said that's the reason he wasn't in the starting lineup. He played 23 minutes.

"Caldwell is a key part of our attack, no matter who starts," Hawking said. "He's been solid for us all year."

It was the type of game Hawking thought his team needed after the layoff.

"It was an opportunity for us to get back in the groove," Hawking said. "It's easy to fall out of sync when you're off for that long. We had a tentative agreement to play Notre Dame College, which is in the same conference with Patten, on this date, but they backed out. The Patten coach offered to play us instead. We're obviously better than they are, but we try to make everything a learning situation."

The Titans shot 56% from the field with Harmon and Caldwell each going eight of 14 and sophomore Brandon Campbell making four of five shots. Campbell, Kenroy Jarrett and Josh Fischer each had 10 points.

"We played well tonight," Campbell said. "But we didn't run that many of our plays. A lot of the time, stuff was open even before we could run a play."

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