Saint Mary’s rallies to defeat CS Fullerton, 69-59
MORAGA, Calif. (AP)—Ian O’Leary and Diamon Simpson both had double-doubles as host Saint Mary’s rallied from a five-point second-half deficit to defeat Cal State Fullerton 69-59 to win the championship game of the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic on Saturday.
O’Leary had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the second straight night, while Simpson overcame a slow start to finish with 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Gaels (12-1). He also had four blocked shots and two steals. The four blocks gave him a career total of 153 tying Brad Millard for the Saint Mary’s career record.
Fullerton (7-4) extended a two-point halftime lead to five points at 44-39 before Yusef Smith scored on a 3-on-1 break and tied the game with a 3-pointer. After Frank Robinson’s two free throws reclaimed the lead for Fullerton, Smith powered in a game-tying basket from the post.
O’Leary hit a 3-pointer, which gave the Gaels the lead for good and followed Josh Akognon’s only second-half basket with another 3-pointer as Saint Mary’s went on a 12-3 run to break the game open.
Akognon led Fullerton with 16 points. Robinson and Marcus Crenshaw each added 13 for Fullerton, which got 11 rebounds from Marcus Morgan and nine from the 5-foot-11 Akognon.
Yusef and Tron Smith both had 10 for Saint Mary’s, while tournament MVP Patty Mills was held to eight points, only the second time he has failed to reach double figures in scoring.
Although Saint Mary’s had 16 turnovers to Fullerton’s 12, the Gaels had nine steals, leading to 16 points, and seven blocks. Fullerton had only four steals and no blocks. Saint Mary’s defense limited Fullerton to 25.7 percent shooting in the second half after Fullerton hit 40.5 percent in the first half.
Fullerton was 5-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half but only 1-for-11 after intermission.