The Hornets improved to 20-3 on the season after taking down the Golden West College Rustlers 62-51.
The win keeps the Hornets in 2nd place in the Orange Empire Conference with a 9-3 record in conference play.
The first time these two teams played it was a 25 point victory for Fullerton.
This time around, four of Fullerton’s top five leading scorers did not play due to injuries but their remaining players were able to overcome the adversity and come out with a victory.
“You feel like you have an identity then all of a sudden all those guys get ripped out of your lineup … but we did a good job of just fighting through,” said FC Head Coach Perry Webster.
Freshman Center Jacob Eyman added, “We establish goals and what we want to do and we push forward from there. I think this is a really tight-knit group and we have something special going on here.”
The Hornets were down 8-4 to start the game until they went on a 15-2 run about halfway through the 1st half.
The Rustlers were able to make a run of their own cutting the lead down to 2 making it 19-17 with about 8 minutes left in the half.
Following a 3-pointer from freshman guard Daniel O’Neil to push the Hornets lead to 22-17 neither team scored for nearly three minutes.
In the last 5 minutes of the Hornets were able to extend their lead to 11 and head into the locker room leading 36-25.
Fullerton came out struggling offensively in the second half, the team didn’t make a basket until the 16-minute mark thanks to an Eyman slam that made the score 38-32.
The Rustlers cut the Hornets lead to 2 with just over 12 minutes left to play. Over the next 4 minutes, Fullerton outscored Golden West 8-2 to extend their lead.
The Rustlers were able to hang around and after cutting into the lead again which prompted Webster to call a timeout with 6 minutes left leading 46-43.
Following the timeout, the Hornets outscored the Rustlers 16-8 to finish the game. When asked what he said to the team during that timeout Webster said, “I just wanted them to focus on rebounding and getting loose balls, I felt if we did that we’d find a way to win the game.”
The Hornets leading scorer was the lone Sophomore who suited up, guard Harrison Bonner who finished with 19 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds. Eyman was the second-leading scorer with 13 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.
The win marks the 5th straight season with at least 20 wins for the Hornets, all under Webster. “I kind of set that barometer when I got hired here I wanted to always be a 20-win team … it’s an accomplishment but it’s not the end-all for us this team has other goals and aspirations and we have to focus on those,” said Webster.
Next Up: The Hornets will hit the road for a rematch with Santiago Canyon on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m.