February 20, 2013

Long-Awaited Meeting With Cal Poly Tips-Off Three of Four at Home

NEXT UP FOR THE TITANS...
Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 | 7:05 p.m.
Fullerton, Calif.
Titan Gym (4,000)
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Audio | Video | CSF Release Adobe PDF Icon  | Cal Poly Release 

TIP OFF: After suffering its worst losses in back-to-back games in over eight years, the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team (12-13 overall, 5-8 in the Big West Conference) looks to get back on track at home this week, finally getting its first meeting with Central Coast rival Cal Poly on Wednesday (Feb. 20) at 7:05 p.m. at Titan Gym.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans' athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF.Athletics) and Twitter (@FullertonTitans).

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, Cal State Fullerton's home games, as well as selected road contests, can be heard live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Links will be made available on the men's basketball schedule page with veteran voice of the Titans, Mike Martinez, handling the play-by-play.

CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?: Live streaming video for Wednesday's game will be shown for free via the Big West TV platform. To access the links, please visit the men's basketball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.

TITANS DRAW TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI FOR BRACKETBUSTER: Cal State Fullerton will travel to the State of Texas on Saturday, Feb. 23, to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as part of the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters series, it was announced Monday (Feb. 4). Game time is scheduled for 11 a.m. Pacific Time from the Dugan Wellness Center on campus. The meeting will mark the second-ever between the Titans and the Islanders after Texas A&M-Corpus Christi handed Fullerton an, 83-76, defeat in the 2002-03 season opener on Nov. 22 at the Hawaiian Airlines Tip-Off Tournament in Honolulu. For more information on the event, please visit http://www.fullertontitans.com/sports/m-baskbl/2012-13/releases/20130204aoeqcz for the complete release.

SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly enters the week with a 12-11 overall record and an 8-5 mark in the Big West Conference for third place -- just a game back of second-place Pacific, but 3 1/2 back of first-place Long Beach State... the Mustangs have won their last three-straight contests, downing rival UC Santa Barbara, 67-49, last week following a home sweep of Pacific (67-62) and UC Davis (68-53)... Cal Poly, which is 10-1 at home this season (including a 7-0 mark in conference play), is just 2-10 away from Mott Gym, including a 1-5 mark in Big West play, having lost five straight since a 58-48 win at UC Riverside on Dec. 29... junior forward Chris Eversley leads the offense, averaging 15.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg while shooting .436 from the field... senior guard Dylan Royer (10.0 ppg) is also in double figures while leading the team from beyond the arc (.414)... Cal Poly is averaging 65.9 ppg and shooting .416 from the field while allowing 63.4 ppg and .457 shooting.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH CAL POLY: The Mustangs lead the all-time series with the Titans, 32-24, with the teams splitting the regular season series in 2011-12... Cal Poly posted a 73-67 win in San Luis Obispo while Fullerton triumphed, 83-61, at Titan Gym to snap a three-game losing streak in the series... the Titans are 7-9 against the Mustangs in Fullerton since the 1996-97 season, having won three of the last five... Fullerton is 6-4 against Cal Poly in the last 10 meetings... until the Titans' 22-point win last season, the previous four meetings had all been decided by six points or fewer.

J.D. FOR THREE: Sophomore transfer James Douglas provided the Titans a big boost off the bench last Saturday at UC Irvine, setting numerous career highs in the loss to the Anteaters. Douglas hit a career-high five shots and a quartet of three-pointers to finish with a Fullerton career-best 14 points while also setting bests in steals (three) and minutes played (25). It was the sophomore's first double-digit scoring performance of the year, totalling one more point than in his previous six games combined (13).

BIG AL: The only starter in double figures Saturday night at UC Irvine, Alex Harris' 12 points marked the sophomore's first double-digit scoring performance since he set a Fullerton career high with 19 points in a four-point loss at Pacific on Jan. 26. It was also his 12th double-digit scoring night of the season -- a total that ranks fourth on the team.

THAT'S RARE: Fullerton enters Wednesday's contest having lost back-to-back games against rivals Long Beach State and UC Irvine by 20 points apiece -- the first time that the Titans have lost consecutive games by 20 points or more since the 2001-02 season at Cal State Northridge (92-68) on Jan. 24 and at Pacific (82-48) on Jan. 28. The silver lining for Fullerton is that three-straight 20-point losses have never occured in the program's Division I history (since 1974-75) and has happened only six times since the program's first year in 1960-61: three games in 1963-64, five games and four games in 1964-65, three games in 1967-68, three-straight in 1970-71, and the last instance in 1971-72 by the deficits of 24, 29, and 34 points to Tulsa, Colorado State, and Northern Illinois, respectively. 

TITANS "BIG THREE" HELD QUIET: Cal State Fullerton's tremendous senior scoring trio of D.J. Seeley, Kwame Vaughn, and Sammy Yeager -- all of whom entered the night averaging better than 16 points per game and ranking among the league's top 10 scorers -- were held in check on Saturday at UC Irvine, combining for just 19 points on 6-of-26 (.231) shooting. Seeley, whose previous season low was five points against the Anteaters on Jan. 17, finished with just two points on 1-of-6 from the floor while Yeager added nine (on 3-of-14 shooting) and Vaughn finished with eight points and five rebounds. It marked the first time this season that all three were held to single digits in the same game.

TITANS' OFFENSE HANGS TOUGH IN NCAA TOP FIVE: A stingy scoring weekend has one of the nation's top scoring offenses held to under 80 points in each of its last four games, but the Titans have held steady among the nation's top five scoring teams entering Wednesday night's contest, ranking No. 4 at 80.5 ppg -- one of only four schools to average better than 80 points per game, joinging Northwestern State (84.1 ppg), Indiana (82.9 ppg), and Iona (82.2 ppg).

THE DEFENSE, HOWEVER: While the offense seems to be clicking in 2012-13, the Titans' defense hasn't been as Fullerton ranks No. 339 out of 345 schools in scoring defense at 77.0 ppg, ahead of only Iona (77.2 ppg), Central Connecticut State (77.2 ppg), Grambling (77.4 ppg), Central Arkansas (77.8 ppg), Fairleigh Dickinson (77.9 ppg), and Longwood University (80.6 ppg).

ELSEWHERE IN THE NATION: Fullerton also ranks among the top five teams in the NCAA in free throw percentage (3rd, .774) while standing in the top 10 in three-pointers per game (7th, 8.9 pg). The Titans are also among the top 25 teams in the nation in field goal percentage (19th, .477), total points (17th, 2012 points), three-point percentage (24th, .388), and turnover margin (19th, +3.7).

MAYBE HE JUST WANTED TO DO IT AT HOME: Seven points. That's all that the Titans' talented senior guard needs to reach the 1,000-point milestone, entering Wednesday's contest at UC Irvine with 993 points in 56 career games in a standout two seasons with the Titans. Should he reach the mark, he would be the first Fullerton player since Josh Akognon in 2009 to reach the plateau and stands just 18 points back of Joe Small (1990-92), who ranks No. 20 on the all-time scoring list with 1,011 career points.

FASTEST TO 1,000?: Should Seeley get his seven points to reach 1,000 for his career, he would be ONE of the quickest in school history to the mark, but he would not be THE quickest. That honor belongs to the great Leon Wood, who played only three seasons for Cal State Fullerton from 1981-84, but reached 1,000 career points in just 46 games, edging out two-year stars Josh Akognon (2007-09) and Cedric Ceballos (1988-90) by a single contest. A complete top-10 list of the quickest Titans to 1,000 points is below:

1. Leon Wood -- 46 games 

t2. Josh Akognon -- 47 games 

t2. Cedric Ceballos -- 47 games 

4. Joe Small -- 54 games 

5. Mark Hill -- 56 games 

6. Ike Harmon -- 64 games

t7. Bobby Brown -- 66 games

t7. Pape Sow -- 66 games

9. Chris Dade -- 78 games

10. Frank Robinson -- 79 games

TWO IN ONE YEAR?: Should both Seeley and fellow senior Kwame Vaughn (925 career points) reach the 1,000-point plateau this season, they would become only the fifth pair in school history to accomplish the milestone in the same year:

• Keith Anderson (1,240), Kevin Heenan (1,163) & Mike Niles (1,014) in 1978-79

• Tony Neal (1,327) and Gary Davis (1,165) in 1984-85

• Cedric Ceballos (1,284) and Mark Hill (1,040) in 1989-90

• Agee Ward (1,017) and Joe Small (1,011) in 1991-92

MINUTE MEN: With the Titans' regular rotation down to just seven players, Cal State Fullerton's senior backcourt duo of Kwame Vaughn and D.J. Seeley, along with senior Sammy Yeager and sophomore Alex Harris, have had to log a lot of minutes as of late. Vaughn, who has played at least 35 minutes in 15 of the team's 25 games overall (including 10 of the last 15), enters the night ranked atop the league at 34.2 mpg while Seeley, who has 10 games of 35 minutes or more -- and has reached that mark in seven of his last 11 -- is third at 33.1 mpg. Yeager, who has played at least 35 minutes in seven of his last 12, is eighth in the conference at 31.8 mpg while Harris enters the week ranked No. 10 in the category at 31.6 mpg.

THREE-HEADED SCORING MONSTER: Cal State Fullerton remains as the only school to have three players among the Big West Conference's top 10 in scoring entering the night as D.J. Seeley (2nd, 18.2 ppg), Kwame Vaughn (3rd, 17.6 ppg), and Sammy Yeager (8th, 15.8 ppg) all make the cut while both Seeley (No. 42) and Vaughn (No. 59) also rank among the top in the nation in that category. The last Titan to lead the league in scoring was Josh Akognon (23.9 ppg) in 2009 -- one of only three Fullerton players to have paced the Big West in that category since 1970: Leon Wood in 1984 (24.0 ppg), Cedric Ceballos in 1989 (21.2 ppg) and 1990 (23.1 ppg), and Ralphy Holmes in 2005 (16.9 ppg).

AWW, SHOOT!!: After being held to a season-low 35.3 percent shooting from the field at Long Beach State on Feb. 13, and just 40 percent from the floor at UC Irvine three nights later, the Titans fell to 3-11 this year when shooting under 50 percent for the game and an 0-5 mark when hitting on less than 40 percent. On the flip side, Fullerton is 9-1 when shooting above that mark and 10-2 when outshooting its opponent this season.

YEAGER... FOR THREE!: Sammy Yeager is getting closer to etching his name into the Fullerton record books for his three-point shooting prowess as his 66 makes from beyond the arc this season stand just four shy of the top 15 and nine back of Joe Small (1990-91) and Mark Hill (1988-89) for the No. 10 spot. The single-season record is held by Josh Akognon, who made 136 three's in 2008-09 and added 116 more in 2007-08 to rank second. If the season ended today, Yeager's percentage of .446 from beyond the arc would also be a school single-season record (minimum 50 made), breaking the mark set by Don Leary (.443, 89-for-201) in 1992-93.

"400": With five more points from Sammy Yeager, the Titans will have three players with 400 points or more in a season for the second-consecutive year and only the fourth time in the last 13 seasons.

NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH: But there are such things as free points if you're Kwame Vaughn. The Titans' senior finished 11-for-12 at the line on Jan. 31 against the Matadors -- the fourth time this season he has had double-digit makes from the stripe -- and added six more last week at Long Beach State and UC Irvine to increase his league-leading total to 134 free throws made (which also stands sixth on the school's single-season list). Vaughn ranks third in the Big West in free throw percentage at .843, a total that would rank him fifth on the school's single-season list, while his career mark of .845 entering the night would be the fourth-best in school history.

STOP THIEF!!: With two more steals, D.J. Seeley, who stands atop the Big West charts with 2.1 spg and ranks tied for 10th on the school's single-season list with 53 steals overall this season, will become only the 15th player in the history of the program to log 100 for his career and the first to break into the top 15 since Frank Robinson (2005-08) finished with 122 for his career (#10 overall) in 2008.

ENOUGH TO GO AROUND: Seeley, Vaughn, and Yeager have all reached double figures in points in the same game 17 times in 25 games this season, including the trio all reaching at least 20 points in both games against Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5 at The Matadome as part of a 105-86 Fullerton victory on on Jan. 31 at Titan Gym in a six-point loss. Together, the trio has combined to score better than 64 percent (1,292 of 2,012) of the team's points this season.

NEWS AT 10: With his 21 points at UC Riverside on Feb. 9, D.J. Seeley notched his 10th game of 20-or-more points -- ranking second in the Big West this season behind UC Davis' Corey Hawkins (11). Seeley leads all active Big West players with 23 career 20-point games while teammate Kwame Vaughn is second with 18 of his own, both standing among a select group of five players in double digits in that career category (Cal State Northridge's Stephan Hicks has 13 while Hawkins and UC Irvine's Daman Starring have 11 apiece).

MORE TWENTY-POINT TIDBITS: Last season, Fullerton was 17-5 when either Seeley (10-3) or Vaughn (7-2) scored at least 20 points, but the Titans are just 7-7 when that occurs in 2012-13. The duo has reached 20 points in the same game 13 times during their Fullerton careers (eight of those coming last season and five times this year), posting an 8-5 mark in those contests (5-1 at home, 3-3 on the road, and 0-1 on a neutral floor).

EIGHT(Y) IS GREAT(Y)...: What a difference a point makes. Cal State Fullerton is a stellar 8-2 this season when scoring at least 80 points this season compared to just 4-10 when scoring 79 points or fewer.

...AND NINETY IS NICE...: Fullerton's 95 points in its win at UC Davis marked the sixth time in 11 victories this season that the Titans have eclipsed the 90-point plateau. Fullerton, which reached 90 points six times in 31 games combined last season, is averaging 89.8 ppg in its 11 victories this season while holding opponents to just 72.6 ppg in those contests.

...BUT A HUNDRED IS HEAVENLY: The Titans reached the 100-point plateau for the third time this season with their 105 points against the Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5 -- the first time that Fullerton has surpassed the 100-point plateau three times in a single-season since the 2006-07 campaign when the Titans reached the century mark four times against Cal Maritime (W, 108-56), Eastern Washington (L, 110-100), San Jose State (W, 104-77), and Pacific (W, 100-92 in 2OT).

NELSON CLEARED TO RETURN TO PRACTICE: The Cal State Fullerton coaching staff got a bit of good news when sophomore forward Darius Nelson was medically cleared to return to practice after recovering from foot surgery performed prior to the start of the 2012-13 season and continues to rehab his injury with hopes of returning to game shape this season. Nelson would provide much-needed depth to the Titans' frontcourt which lost senior John Underwood to a leave of absence in November and Marquis Horne for the last 18 games due to an injury he suffered in December.