Even in victory -- and those moments have been few and far between this season -- Cal State Fullerton's joy was tempered Wednesday night.
The Titans ended their three-game losing streak, beating host UC Riverside, 74-64, in front of 871 in a Big West Conference game. But Fullerton learned early Wednesday it would be without guard Derick Andrew, out for the season because of a hemorrhage of his right eye. The 6-foot-2 junior is the fifth of five returning lettermen who have been sidelined this season.
"This blow is huge, said Titan guard Anthony Bolton. "Derick Andrew is one of our main guys."
Fullerton (7-15, 5-7) didn't seem to miss Andrew's 9.6 scoring average against the Highlanders, who came out flat. Riverside (5-13, 4-8) made only three of its first 10 shots and committed four turnovers in the first eight minutes of the game.
Fullerton, meanwhile, couldn't miss. The Titans, with guard Ralphy Holmes striking for 10 of his game-high 24 points, made seven of their first 10 shots and held a 39-25 halftime lead.
Riverside got the deficit down to two points on a three-pointer by Ted Bell with 9:34 remaining in the game. But Bolton responded with a three-pointer as part of a 7-0 run and Riverside never fully recovered.