January 5, 2007

Streaks Collide Saturday at 6:05 in Titan Gym

Jan. 5, 2007

Fullerton, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Sat., Jan. 6 -- vs. Pacific, Titan Gym, 6:05 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 13 -- vs. UC Riverside, Titan Gym, 6:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (11-3, 2-1) puts its 11-game home-court winning streak on the line Saturday at 6:05 p.m. against the last visiting team to win in Titan Gym and a team which has won on its last seven visits -- the Pacific Tigers (5-9, 2-0). Overall, Pacific has beaten the Titans 6 in a row, 14 of 15 and 19 of 21. The Titans' 11-3 start is their best since the 1983-84 team opened up 13-2.

AUDIO: All Titan games can be heard live on the internet on computers with sound cards. Listeners may access the CSF Athletics home page at www.fullertontitans.com and follow the links. Justin Alderson will be the announcer for the Pacific game.

VIDEO: All Titan home games and road Big West Conference games are available via videostreaming on a subscription basis. Details are available on the Big West website at www.bigwest.org.

PROBABLE STARTERS:
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg r/apg Quick Notes
C 5 Justin Burns** 6-7 Sr. 11.7 6.9r Got only 4 shots vs. CSUN but made 3
F 2 Scott Cutley 6-5 Jr. 15.4 8.6r Needs to play 2 more games to qualify for Big West stat leaderships
G 3 Bobby Brown*** 6-2 Sr. 21.3 5.2a Began week in BWC top 5 in scoring, FG%, FT%, 3pt FGs & %, assists & steals
G 22 Ray Reed 5-11 Jr. 10.7 3.9a Leading Big West Conference in steals (2.57); 19 for 33 FGs last 6 games
G 0 Frank Robinson* 6-4 Jr. 12.1 5.5r Averaging 14.7 ppg and 6.0 rpg in Big West play

OFF THE BENCH:
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw 5-10 So. 11.8 2.5a 18 for 36 3-point FGs over last five games
F 21 Kenneth Alexander 6-6 Jr. 4.4 3.8r Got first start vs. Bethune-Cookman; 6 rebounds in solid 25 minutes at UCLA
F 43 Chris Minardo 6-10 So. 5.1 2.5r Had 5 points, 4 rebounds in 11 quality minutes at Pepperdine
C 42 Andrew Green 6-6 Jr. 4.4 3.1r Leads team in rebounds per minutes played
F 34 Marcus Morgan 6-5 Jr. 2.6 2.8r Started first three games; sidelined by knee problem for three games
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans trail in the all-time series with Pacific, 41-29, and have lost six in a row, 14 of the last 15 and 19 of the past 21. Pacific has won seven in a row in Titan Gym by an average of 5 points including one overtime game. The Tigers' 67-62 win on Feb. 9 was the last by a visiting team in Titan Gym.

ABOUT THE TIGERS: Pacific (5-9, 2-0) had lost six in a row before opening Big West Conference play with a home victory over Cal State Northridge and a win Thursday night at UC Riverside, 62-49. Anthony Brown had 18 points and 15 rebounds to pad his team-leading totals to 15.4 ppg and 8.3 rpg. He is shooting 51 percent from the floor and 76 percent from the foul line. Steffan Johnson averages 11.6 ppg and C. J. Morgan is at 8.9. UoP made 7 of 16 3-point baskets while the Highlanders made only 5 of 25.

ABOUT THE TITANS: The Titans are trying to post their third consecutive winning season, something that hasn't been done in Fullerton since Coach George McQuarn posted four winning records between 1981-82 and 1984-85. They got off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1989-90 and their 11-3 start is the best since 1983-84. The Titans feature three returning "regulars" in seniors Bobby Brown at point guard and Justin Burns at center and junior guard Frank Robinson, who was the Big West Conference's "sixth-man" of the year in 2005-06. Four-year transfers Scott Cutley and Marcus Crenshaw from Kent State and Ray Reed from Georgetown have made an immediate impact along with community college transfers Kenneth Alexander and Marcus Morgan from West Valley, Andrew Green from College of the Sequoias and Chris Minardo from Citrus College.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 59-44 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career, having coached game No. 100 vs. San Jose State on Dec. 23. At .573, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). The recent 5-game winning streak matched a similar one in 2004-05 for the best of the Burton Era. He is 0-6 vs. Pacific.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 32-13 (.711) in Titan Gym and have an 11-game winning streak alive including 7-0 this season. But in Big West play, the Titans were only 2-5 at home last year.

NEW FRILLS: Not coincidental to the recent home success, a squad of cheerleaders was added to the home court ambience for last season. Along with a flag carrier and a new student band, they join the entertainment package headed by the six-time national champion dance team.

ON THE ROAD: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past two seasons plus this year to date they are 24-20 away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115. Burton's total CSF road record is 27-31.

CHALK TALK: Assistant Coach Andy Newman will hold a free pre-game reception and "chalk talk" for the Titan Athletics Club on Saturday at 4 p.m. prior to the 6:05 p.m. game with Pacific. The location is the recreations room at University Village, across from campus on north side of Yorba Linda Blvd.

LIVING RIGHT: Twice this season the Titans have survived 3-point field goal tries by opponents at the buzzer that would have turned CSF victories into defeat. And both times it was the opponent's leading scorer -- Ross Mouton at Louisiana-Lafayette and Marvin Lea at Pepperdine -- taking the shot. Ironically, in both games, the Titans led by 18 in the first half -- 29-11 at ULaLa and 30-12 at Pepperdine.

OUT OF THE BLOCKS: With the exception of two times, the Titans have jumped out to first-half double-digit leads in every other game, to wit: 14-2 at 15:24 vs. Cal Maritime; 24-12 at 10:10 vs. Hope; 17-7 at 15:19 at Lafayette; 33-23 at 9:26 at Eastern Washington; 14-3 at 14:43 vs. UTSA; 14-4 at 15:18 at UCLA; 13-2 at 15:42 at Pepperdine; 14-2 at 15:53 vs. Bethune Cookman, 24-14 at 7:41 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette; 16-6 at 12:06 vs. San Jose State; 41-31 at 6:22 at Cal Poly and 29-19 at 5:03 vs. CSUN. Interestingly, in the two slow starts -- at UTSA and at UCSB -- they fell behind by as many as 17 points in the first half but rallied to at least get even in the second half. And against CSUN, they rallied from an early 11-0 deficit.

Bobby Brown: Senior point guard Bobby Brown is the focal point of the Cal State Fullerton program. An unheralded product of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, he has developed into one of the nation's finest players and an All-America candidate. He tested the NBA draft waters last summer but opted to return for his senior year. He has been nominated for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard and is on CollegeInsider.com's pre-season Mid-Major All-American team. He has made numerous pre-season All-Big West Conference teams and is projected as player of the year by many. Last year he was first-team All-Big West and second-team All-NABC District.

He needs 228 more points this season to become the Titans' all-time leading scorer, surpassing All-American, Olympic gold medalist and 6-year NBA veteran Leon Wood. At Pepperdine he passed Greg Bunch and Chris Dade to move into the No. 4 spot on the list and went to No. 3 ahead of Ike Harmon (at 1,557) during the second Louisiana-Lafayette game. Brown was selected Big West Conference player of the week after his 47-point game against Bethune-Cookman, the second highest scoring total in Big West history behind 53 by Raymond Lewis of Cal State L.A. on Feb. 23, 1973, vs. Long Beach State. The 46-year-old school record was 45 points by Jon Brettman vs. Luke Air Force Base on Dec. 12, 1960. The old school Div. I record was 38 by Richard Morton on Jan. 7, 1988, vs. UC Irvine. Eleven 3-point field goals broke the CSF mark of 10 by Ryan Dillon (Jan. 31, 2001, vs. Boise State) and tied the Big West record of Chris Brown of UC Irvine on Mar. 13, 1994, vs. New Mexico State. Brown had 12 points in the first 4:07 and 17 (of team's first 19) in first 7:11. AND MORE: Brown began the week among the Big West leaders in every category except rebounding. He was No. 1 in assists (5.1 apg), No. 1 in 3-point field goals (3.6 per game), No. 2 in scoring (21.1), No. 2 in steals (2.0 per game), No. 2 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55), No. 3 in minutes played (33.7 per game), No. 4 in 3-point field goal percentage (.468) and No. 5 in free-throw (.794) and field goal percentage (.532).

Frank Robinson: The junior swingman has picked up his game with the onset of Big West Conference play, averaging 14.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in three games. He has made 6 of 17 treys after a 7-for-29 slump over the previous 6 games. He had a career-high 7 assists vs. Bethune Cookman. He was the key Titan off the bench last year when he was selected the "sixth man" of the year in the Big West Conference. He became a starter for the final three weeks of the season and played to an all-conference level, averaging 16.6 points over the last seven games capped by a 25-point, 12-rebound effort in defeat to Long Beach State in the semifinals of the post-season tournament. Overall, he averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds and was No. 3 in the conference in 3-point field goal accuracy at .445 (49 of 110).

Justin Burns: Senior center bounced back from a scoreless game vs. Bethune-Cookman to score in double figures in the next four games before being held to 7 points vs. CSU Northridge on 3-for-4 shooting. He won Big West Conference Player of the Week honors in November when he posted a pair of double-doubles in victories at Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana-Lafayette. He had a career second-best of 21 points vs. Texas-San Antonio. With three double-doubles this season, he has moved into the Titans' career Top 12 list with 8. He began the week No. 4 in rebounding in the Big West.

Scott Cutley: Junior forward is playing with a splint on his left hand to protect a fracture to his thumb suffered in practice prior to the Bethune-Cookman game, which he missed. With the splint he has 71 points and 40 rebounds in the last 5 games. In the last two games he is 4-for-4 from the 3-point line after starting the year 2-for-13. He broke in with a bang, scoring 31 points with 11 rebounds in his Titan debut at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 24. It was only the 62nd 30-point game by a Titan at the Div. I level. He scored the game-tying buckets in the final minute of both regulation and overtime. He leads the Big West Conference in double-doubles with four despite playing in only 10 games, which leaves him shy of qualifying (75% of team's games) for the lead in scoring and rebounding.

RAY REED: Georgetown transfer Ray Reed leads the Titans and the Big West Conference in steals (2.57) through the first 14 games. He was in double figures in scoring in each of the first five games but then went five games in single digits until a 15-point effort vs. San Jose State. He made only 1 of 11 field goals at Pepperdine but since then is 19-for-33 (.576) including 4 of 10 from 3-point range. He just missed a triple-double against Hope International when he had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. He has attempted at least one free throw in every game except at UCLA.

Marcus Crenshaw: Kent State transfer started the first three games and averaged 18 points. Playing considerably less minutes, he has averaged 10.1 points in the last 11 games. He is second on the team with 38 3-point field goals and began the week No. 3 in the Big West (at 2.62 per game). He is on pace to make 78 in a 29-game schedule which would be the third-best single-season total in CSF history. His total of 35 assists is No. 3 on the team.

CONNECTING FROM LONG DISTANCE: The Titans have been on a 3-point shooting spree in their last 7 games, although they didn't have much success (5 of 20) at UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 30. In this span, they have attempted an average of 24.7 per game and made an average of 10.9. On Thursday night they attempted a school record 33 treys and made 13, just one shy of the school record which they matched by making 14 at Cal Poly on Dec. 28. The Titans are on a pace to make 256 treys in 667 attempts in a 29-game season. The makes would be a school record while the attempts would still fall well shy of the 716 atempted in a 32-game schedule in 2004-05.

WHERE'S THE `D'? In the last 3 games, Titan opponents have made 57.7 per cent of their field goal attempts.

FREE THROW FUTILITY: Fullerton had a lower free-throw percentage (.391, 9 of 23) than 3-point field goal percentage (.394, 13 of 33) vs. Cal State Northridge. There is no listed school record for single-game free-throw futility, but it was close. Among the inglorious past performances were: 28.6 percent (4 of 14) at Pacific on Jan. 4, 2001; 36.8 percent (7 of 19) at Nevada on March 7, 1997; and 33.3 percent (3 of 9) at Long Beach State on Jan. 22, 1998. The Titans have had at least one game under .500 at the line for each season since 1991-92.

WESTCHESTER CONNECTION: Westchester High School, one of California's most successful prep basketball programs in recent times, leaves a lot of flavor on the Titans' roster. Current players Bobby Brown, Scott Cutley and Jarrel Lake all played there while Titan Assistant Coach Marlon Morton was on the WHS staff. Last year's team had two more former Comets in Jerard Moret (who transferred to West L.A. College) and John Clemmons (eligibility expired).

ONLY ONE NEW STOP: Lafayette, Louisiana, with its Cajundome was the only stop on the Titans' basketball itinerary this year where the Titans have not previously competed. (Pending the ESPNU Bracket Buster assignmnet on Feb. 17). Conversely, three new opponents visited Titan Gym -- California Maritime, Bethune-Cookman and Louisiana-Lafayette.