Having watched his team's erratic play in its first three games, Cal State Fullerton men's basketball Coach Bob Burton challenged the Titans in preparation for Monday night's game against Pepperdine.
They rewarded him with his first coaching victory at the Division I level.
Freshman Bobby Brown scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Titans over the Waves, 78-74, at Pepperdine.
Fullerton (1-3) blew a 15-point lead in the second half, but Pape Sow's free throw ended a 74-74 tie with 56 seconds remaining.
Terrance Johnson missed two three-point tries for the Waves (1-3), and Anthony Bolton and Brown combined to make three foul shots.
"I was so depressed about the way we were playing," said Burton, a former Fresno State assistant and 21-year community college coach. "We really practiced hard [Sunday]. We really got into them and threw some challenges at them.
"It was good to get into kids that hard and see them respond this way."
Fullerton shot 61.2% against a listless Pepperdine team that lost by two points at Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Brown, making a pitch to break into the starting lineup, made seven of 11 shots, including five of nine three-point tries. Sow had 18 points and eight rebounds.
Fullerton dominated in the paint and had a 34-17 scoring advantage off the bench.
"We didn't play with any urgency until there were five minutes left in the game," Pepperdine Coach Paul Westphal said. "That team you saw out there tonight was not encouraging. We won't beat many people playing like that."
-- Eric Stephens