January 10, 2008

Titans Risk Rare 2-0 Start Against Mustangs

Jan. 10, 2008

Fullerton, Calif. -

UPCOMING:
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.
Thurs., Jan. 17 -- at Pacific, Spanos Center (6,150), 7 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 19 -- at UC Davis, The Pavilion (7,600), 7 p.m.

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (9-4, 2-0) are 2-0 in the Big West Conference for the first time since 1994-95 and only the second time since 1983-84 and now they run into the two teams picked at the top of the standings in the pre-season polls. Runnerup pick Cal Poly (6-8, 1-1) has struggled but favorite UC Santa Barbara (12-3, 1-1) has lived up to expectations, a Saturday loss to Cal State Northridge aside. Fullerton will be playing its third and fourth games in a nine-day span.

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. Mike Martinez will announce 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 with Geoff Witcher and Don Ford at the microphones.

PROBABLE STARTERS:
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg r/apg Quick Notes
F 2 Scott Cutley* 6-5 Sr. 13.3 6.9r Just missed triple double vs. SUU w/15 points, 10 boards, 8 assists
F 34 Marcus Morgan* 6-5 Jr. 5.7 6.1r Career highs of 13 points at Arizona, 11 rebounds at Saint Mary's
G 1 Josh Akognon 6-1 Jr. 20.8 3.2r 30-or-more points three times this season
F 5 Frank Robinson** 6-4 Sr. 16.2 6.3r Second double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds vs. UC Irvine
G 15 Junior Russell 5-6 Jr. 4.8 2.5a Scored 16 points off the bench at Central Michigan
OFF THE BENCH:
C 21 Kenneth Alexander* 6-6 Sr. 4.4 2.3r Career-high 17 pts. off the bench at Southern Utah
G 22 Ray Reed* 5-11 Sr. 4.1 1.1a Season-high 11 points vs. Southern Utah
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw* 5-10 Jr. 10.6 2.7a Scored 16 points in 20 minutes vs. UC Irvine
C 42 Andrew Green* 6-6 Sr. 4.2 3.1r Grabbed 7 rebounds in 20 minutes at UC Riverside
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Jr. 3.2 0.8a Career-high 11 points in 10 minutes vs. Furman
C 13 Eddie Lima 6-9 Jr. 2.1 1.6r Made 3 of 4 shots vs. CSU Bakersfield; slowed by knee injury
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans trail the all-time series with Cal Poly, 28-18, and trail 14-9 since the Mustangs joined the conference for the 1996-97 season. Cal Poly won the last two meetings -- 90-80 in Titan Gym on Feb. 24 and 81-56 in Anaheim on March 9 after Fullerton won in San Luis Obispo, 99-91, on Dec. 28, 2006.

ABOUT THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly snapped a 3-game losing streak on Saturday night with a 64-52 win over Long Beach State. Seven players are averaging between 6.6 and 9.3 points led by Trae Clark. Cal Poly is shooting only 38.6 percent from the floor and 29 percent from the 3-point line. Matt Hanson is the leading rebounder at 5.6 rpg.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 77-55 in his fifth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .5833, Burton has again inched past Bobby Dye (109-78, .5829) as the winningest coach in Titan history.

THE ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH: Andy Newman will conduct the second Titan Athletics Club Chalk Talk at 4 p.m. Saturday in the University Village dining hall. Complimentary appetizers, soft drinks and adult beverages will be available. University Village is located at Yorba Linda Blvd. and Oxford Ave., across the street from the Arboretum. All Titan fans are welcome. There is no admission fee.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 42-16 (.724) in Titan Gym but have lost the last two home games vs. Cal Poly.

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 32-28 (.533) 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 35-39 (.473).

OUT OF THE GATE: The Titans have dusted off the record book in bolting to a 2-0 conference start for the first time since Bob Hawking's 1994-95 squad won at UNLV and at UC Irvine. The Titans won their conference opener at home for the first time since 1984 (0-10 in the interim) with a 93-83 win over UC Irvine on Friday and then posted their most lopsided road victory in 11 seasons with a 77-47 win at UC Riverside on Monday night. The Titans held UCR to 27.1 percent shooting from the floor, the lowest figure by a Div. I opponent (second lowest overall) since records are available (since the 1980-81 season).

REVENGE MOTIVE? The Titans have atoned for last year's disappointing loss at UCR (lost by 6 after winning by 40 at home) and now set their sights on avenging a 90-80 home loss to Cal Poly on Feb. 24 that cost them the No. 2 seed in the post-season tournament.

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 6.9 rpg per game and No. 10 in scoring at 13.3 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 more than halfway toward breaking the Cal State Fullerton single-season record for 3-point field goals (89 by Don Leary in 1992-93). With 55 treys in 13 games, he is averaging 4.23 per game and if he maintains that pace he would hit No. 90 in game No. 22 on Feb. 9 at Cal Poly. He has made four or more in a game eight times with a best of seven on three occasions. 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 20.8 ppg), 3-point field goals (1st at 4.23 per game) and free-throw percentage (1st at .892 on 33 of 37). 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 was No. 8 in 3-point field-goal percentage and 3-pointers made in the Big West until an 0-for-4 night at UCR. 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 10.6 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 116 3-point baskets as a Titan, he has moved into the No. 10 spot on the Titans' career list but he is still 55 attempts away from that Top Ten. In the last four home games he is 15-for-26 (.577) from behind the arc compared to 5-for-22 (.227) over the lasst four road games.

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. He has made 6-of-6 field goals in Big West play.

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 seven 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.

FROM THE PERIMETER: Through games of Jan. 6, the Titans were second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at .433 (which has fallen to .430 after an 8-for-21 at UCR). Josh Akognon has only the third best percentage on the team, trailing Marcio Lassiter (.500 on 9 of 18) and Junior Russell (.471 on 8 of 17).

30-POINT VICTORIES: The Titans have won three games by 30 or more points (Southern Utah, Furman and at UC Riverside) this season and nine (one on the road) in Coach Bob Burton's four-plus year tenure. By comparison, predecessors Donny Daniels had one 30-or-more-point win in three seasons, Bob Hawking had four (one on the road) in six seasons, Brad Holland had none in two seasons, John Sneed had one in four seasons, George McQuarn had 10 (one on the road) in eight seasons and Bobby Dye had seven (two on the road) in six seasons. The list of road Div. I era 30-point wins: 101-69 at Cal State Bakersfield on 1/3/76; 87-56 at Cal State Northridge on 11/27/76; 90-60 at Hawaii on 11/27/83; 89-57 at UC Irvine on 1/25/97; and 77-47 at UC Riverside on 1/7/08.

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.