Titans Travel to UC Riverside Tonight

Jan. 7, 2008

Riverside, Calif. -
UPCOMING: Mon., Jan. 7 -- at UC Riverside, Student Recreation Center, (3,168), Riverside, 7 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 10 -- Cal Poly SLO, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m. (KVMD-TV)
Sat., Jan. 12 -- UC Santa Barbara, Titan Gym (4,000), 6:05 p.m.

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IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans play their second of four games in a 9-day span on Monday night when they take an 8-4, 1-0 record to UC Riverside (3-10, 0-2), while trying to atone for one of their most bitter defeats of last season. Last year, after beating the Highlanders by 40 points at home, the Titans lost at UCR, 82-76, for what would be the Highlanders' only conference victory. Larry Cunningham scored 34 points in the second half to fuel the upset of a Titan team that went into that game with a 16-4, 6-2 record.

TELECONFERENCE CALL: Coach Bob Burton will be part of the Big West Conference men's basketball coaches teleconference call on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Burton is scheduled for the 10:50 a.m. time slot. Call the Big West office (714-261-2525) for access codes.

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. Mel Franks will announce the game at UC Riverside and Mike Martinez will describe the Cal Poly and UCSB contests.

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. The Cal Poly game will be aired live on KVMD television.

PROBABLE STARTERS:
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg r/apg Quick Notes
F 2 Scott Cutley* 6-5 Sr. 13.6 6.8r Just missed triple double vs. SUU w/15 points, 10 boards, 8 assists
F 34 Marcus Morgan* 6-5 Jr. 5.7 5.9r Career highs of 13 points at Arizona, 11 rebounds at Saint Mary's
G 1 Josh Akognon 6-1 Jr. 20.0 3.2r Leads Big West in 3-point field goals and free-throw percentage; No. 2 scorer
F 5 Frank Robinson** 6-4 Sr. 16.7 6.4r Second double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds vs. UC Irvine
G 15 Junior Russell 5-6 Jr. 5.0 2.7a Scored 16 points off the bench at Central Michigan
OFF THE BENCH:
C 21 Kenneth Alexander* 6-6 Sr. 4.5 2.2r Career-high 17 pts. off the bench at Southern Utah
G 22 Ray Reed* 5-11 Sr. 3.9 1.2a Season-high 11 points vs. Southern Utah
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw* 5-10 Jr. 10.9 2.6a Scored 16 points in 20 minutes vs. UC Irvine
C 42 Andrew Green* 6-6 Sr. 4.4 2.8r Made first Titan career start vs. Cal State L.A.
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Jr. 3.5 0.8a Career-high 11 points in 10 minutes vs. Furman
C 13 Eddie Lima 6-9 Jr. 2.5 1.7r Made 3 of 4 shots vs. CSU Bakersfield; slowed by knee injury
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans lead the all-time series with UC Riverside by a 15-14 margin. The teams have split the last four meetings with a pair of splits at each venue. Last year, Fullerton won by 40 points at home but lost at UCR, 82-76, when Larry Cunningham scored 34 points in the second half.

ABOUT THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside is 3-10, 0-2 under first-year Coach Jim Wooldridge but 3-1 at home. The Highlanders' wins have come over Hope International, Idaho and Loyola Marymount and the loss was to Cal State Bakersfield. Larry Cunningham (15.1 ppg) and Sean Cunningham (8.8 ppg) are the top two scorers with Aaron Scott (4.8 rpg) leading the way on the backboards. UCR is shooting 41 percent from the floor and 32 percent from the 3-point line.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 76-55 in his fifth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .580, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583).

THESE 30 ROAD WINS MUCH QUICKER: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past three seasons plus this season to date, they are 31-28 (.525) away from Titan Gym. For the previous 10 seasons (1994-95 thru 2003-04) the combined road record was 30-115 (.207). With a 3-11 mark in his first season (2003-04), Burton's total CSF road record is 34-39 (.466).

CONFERENCE-OPENER REVIEW: The Titans won their conference opener for the third time in the Bob Burton Era with a 93-83 win over UC Irvine. But it was their first opening win at home in three tries. In first road conference games, Burton's teams have, in order, lost at UCR, won at Cal State Northridge twice and won at Cal Poly.

HEALING MAN CUTLEY: The Titans' returning first-team All-Big West Conference senior forward Scott Cutley returned to the practice floor during Thanksgiving weekend, came off the bench at Arizona and started at Montana, six weeks after suffering a fractured right ankle. Last season he missed only one game despite a broken thumb. He currently ranks No. 2 in the Big West in rebounding at 6.8 rpg per game and No. 10 in scoiring at 13.6 points per game. He posted three consecutive double-doubles vs. Central Michigan, Southern Utah and Montana and just missed a triple-double vs. the Thunderbirds.

AKOGNON LIKES THE TEMPO: Josh Akognon is already past halfway toward breaking the Cal State Fullerton single-season record for 3-point field goals (89 by Don Leary in 1992-93). With 48 treys in 12 games, he is averaging 4.0 per game and would hit No. 90 in game No. 23 on Feb.14 vs. UC Davis. He has made four or more in a game seven times. The Washington State transfer led the Cougars in scoring in 2005-06 and made just under two treys per game while averaging 10.3 points. This year he is among the Big West leaders in scoring (2nd at 20.0 ppg), 3-point field goals (1st at 4.0 per game) and free-throw percentage (1st at .909 on 30 of 33). At Saint Mary's he grabbed a career-high 9 rebounds.

ROBINSON REBOUNDS: Frank Robinson sat out the Dec. 17 Southern Utah game with an ankle injury but has played well since returning. He scored 16 of his game-high 20 points before intermission on 6-for-9 shooting vs Montana and had 22 points and 5 rebounds vs. Wright State. At the Saint Mary's tournament he averaged 15 points and 5.5 rebounds. He ranks No. 4 in scoring, No. 3 in rebounding and No. 8 in 3-point field-goal percentage and 3-pointers made in the Big West thru games of Jan. 5. He bounced back from one of his worst games as a Titan at Arizona to score a career-high 30 points at Montana to go with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. He was 1-for-7 from the floor in Tucson and 11-for-16 in Missoula. He's had two double-doubles -- at Central Michigan with 15 points and 10 rebounds and vs. UCI with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

CRENSHAW SPARK PLUG: Junior guard Marcus Crenshaw, the Big West Conference's Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07, continues to provide an offensive spark off the bench, ranking as the Titans' No. 4 scorer at 10.9 points per game. He started at Montana (and Central Michigan) after 31 consecutive appearances off the bench. He also started his first three games as a Titan in November of 2006 when the roster was short three suspended players. With 115 3-point baskets as a Titan, he has moved into the No. 10 spot on the Titans' career list but he is still 60 attempts away from that Top Ten. In the last four home games he is 15-for-26 (.577) from behind the arc but he hit only 3 of 12 in the Saint Mary's tournament.

MORGAN SHINES IN TOUGHEST SPOTS: Marcus Morgan has had his best statistical games against the tougher opponents this season. At Arizona he scored 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while playing solid defense. At Saint Mary's he had another strong defensive game and had 7 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. His biggest play of the year was blocking the potential game-winning layup by Montana's Andrew Strait with one second left in regulation on Dec. 20.

RUSSELL STUNNED: Point guard Junior Russell missed most of the second half vs. Furman with a head injury but returned to play the next night at Saint Mary's. After averaging 12.5 points in games at Central Michigan and vs. Southern Utah, he had scored only 13 points in the next four games combined but then got 9 vs. UC Irvine on Friday night. He has scored 9 or more points 4 times and had 2 or less on six occasions.

INSTANT OFFENSE: Like Marcus Crenshaw, Marcio Lassiter has provided an offensive spark off the bench. The transfer from San Francisco City College scored 9 points in 11 minutes at Montana, 8 points in 19 minutes vs. Montana and 11 points in 10 minutes vs. Furman.

FALL SIGNEES: The Titans signed two incoming players during the November signing period -- Aaron Thompson, a 6-4, 205-pound junior wing from Cerritos College and previously of Washington High School in L.A.; and Jacques Streeter, a 6-foot, 175-pound point guard at Finley Prep School in Las Vegas and previously at Fremont High School in L.A.

OPENER REVIEW: Fullerton hadn't won a Big West Conference opener at home since 1983-84 and ended an 0-10 run with its win over UC Irvine on Friday night. In the interim, the Titans had gone 5-8 in openers played on the road. The Titans' .615 field-goal percentagae vs. UCI was its highest since a .652 mark vs. Hope International on Nov. 27, 2004.