The Cal Poly men’s basketball team never trailed Thursday night at Cal State Fullerton, building a double-digit lead before holding off a late Titans rally to win 58-56.
Michael Williams, who scored a game-high 20 points, hit a pair of free throws with 2:09 remaining to pull Fullerton within two.
But neither team scored again for the rest of the game, as the Titans missed a pair of field goals in the final 30 seconds that could have forced overtime.
Senior guard Jamal Johnson scored a team-high 12 points for the Mustangs (8-10, 4-1 Big West) on 5-of-7 shooting to go along with three assists.
Cal Poly led 33-27 at halftime before three straight buckets by the Titans (6-12, 1-3) tied the score at 33.
Sophomore forward Brian Bennett, who got the start with senior Kyle Odister out with a foot injury, scored the next four points for the Mustangs and jumpers by Maliik Love and Chris Eversley opened up a six-point advantage.
Cal Poly led by as many as nine from that point on, but struggled on offense after Joel Awich’s 3 with 3:05 served as the Mustangs’ final points.
The drought did not come back to hurt Cal Poly, as Fullerton missed three shots and a free throw during the final three minutes.
The Mustangs scored 17 of the first 22 points in the game and led by 26-12 after Ridge Shipley hit a 3-pointer with seven minutes left in the first half.
Bennett finished with 10 points, and Dave Nwaba had seven to go along with his team-high six rebounds.
The Mustangs shot 58 percent on 3-pointers (7-12) compared to the Titans’ 30-percent clip (6-20).
Cal Poly, which is off to its best league start since joining the Big West 18 years ago, travels to UC Riverside on Saturday.