CALIFORNIA — Three players finished in double figures as the No. 2 seed Hornets stopped a two-game losing streak by subduing the No. 7 Pintos in the first round of the 87th-annual California Tournament late Tuesday night.
Fulton (5-2) protected a 14-10 edge heading to the second quarter, but erupted by outscoring California 30-12 to build a 44-22 lead at halftime. The Hornets followed up by outscoring the Pintos 16-7 in the third quarter to extend their comfortable advantage to 60-29.
Sophomore guard Walker Gohring topped Fulton with 16 points. Sophomore guard Courtland Simmons followed with 13 points and sophomore forward Colby Lancaster contributed 10.
Freshman center Javar Galbreath grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds, while Simmons had five rebounds and passed out nine assists.
"I thought this was one of our best defensive efforts of the year," Hornets head coach Justin Gilmore said. "Our guys came out with fire and energy from the tip — we were diving on loose balls and grabbing rebounds right and left.
" Everything these guys did (Tuesday night) started on the defensive end. When they get their defense going, that's when everything starts rolling for us."
Trevor Meyers paced California with a game-high 22 points.
Fulton clashes with No. 3 seed Southern Boone in the semifinals at 6 tonight. The Eagles (6-4) advanced with a 71-50 first-round victory over No. 6 seed St. Elizabeth on Tuesday night.
The Hornets will be looking to avenge a 66-61 overtime loss at Southern Boone on Jan. 7.