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BIG WEST TOURNAMENT

Josh Akognon's 37 points lead Cal State Fullerton

Guard makes nine three-point baskets and breaks the tournament's single-game scoring record of 36 points in a 59-46 first-round win over UC Riverside.

March 12, 2009|Robyn Norwood

There was no arguing with the chant that rose from Cal State Fullerton's student section as Josh Akognon made three-point basket after three-point basket against UC Riverside in the Big West Conference tournament Wednesday night.

"You can't guard him," the orange-clad students cheered.

Akognon, the Big West player of the year after ranking in the top 10 nationally in scoring, scored 37 points in Fullerton's 59-46 first-round victory at Anaheim Convention Center, breaking the tournament record of 36 points shared by three players.

Seemingly needing no more than a shiver to get off his quick-release jumper, Akognon made nine three-pointers and 14 of 22 shots.

"Look, we can look at that film all summer, the shots that kid was making, I don't know if you can prevent them from being taken," Riverside Coach Jim Wooldridge said. "My heavens, he was shooting from the ozone."

Akognon began the game needing 16 points to break Leon Wood's single-season school record of 719. He did it by halftime. At one point in the second half, he had more points than the entire Riverside team, sparking another chant from the student section: "Josh is winning. Josh is winning."

The Titans reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in 30 years last season. They're trying to get back, but the seventh-seeded Titans (15-16) would have to win four games in four days to win the Big West title.

Brandon Dowdy led Riverside (17-13) with 17 points. The Highlanders were without starting guard Javon Borum, serving a suspension after being ejected for shoving a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo player in the previous game.

UC Davis 69, UC Irvine 68 -- Mark Payne made two free throws with eight seconds left to lift the Aggies, who held on when the Anteaters' Michael Hunter missed an off-balance jumper at the buzzer.

Vince Oliver had 20 points for Davis (13-18) and Hunter had 16 for Irvine (12-19).

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robynnorwood@verizon.net

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