Titan Men Play Tenth Road Game at UC Riverside

Jan. 11, 2006

Riverside, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Sat., Jan. 14 - at UC Riverside, Student Recreation Center (3,168), 4:10 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 19 - Long Beach State, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 21 - UC Irvine, Titan Gym (4,000), 2:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (8-5, 2-2) plays its tenth road game out of a total of 14 Saturday afternoon at UC Riverside (2-12, 2-2) in a battle of teams with identical conference records. UCR got there after an 0-10 non-conference slate while the Titans had a more impressive 6-3 pre-season. Both teams have lost to Cal Poly SLO and beaten UC Santa Barbara at home. The travel partners both split road trips over the weekend, winning on Saturday (CSF at CSUN and UCR at Pacific) but losing on Monday night (CSF at Pacific and UCR at CSUN) in their fourth game in eight days for both teams. Fullerton had an identical 8-5, 2-2 record last year after 13 games and lost both No. 14 and No. 15.

"RADIO": All ROAD Big West Conference games plus the Jan. 28 game at UC Davis can be heard on KSPA (1510 AM) with Justin Alderson calling the action. 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.

ABOUT THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside stumbled out of the blocks for new Coach David Spencer while trying to run a super-tempo Loyola Marymount-style attack. A combination of the losing streak, injuries and the compressed schedule caused the Highlanders to slow down the offense and the result has been a couple of surprising victories. They still play full-court defense. Guard Rickey Porter has been the offensive catalyst, earning Big West Conference player of the week honors for, among other things, scoring 40 points (7-for-7 behind the 3-point line) in the victory at Pacific, which saw its 31-game conference winning streak ended.

PROBABLE STARTERS:
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg rpg Quick Notes

F 1 Jamaal Brown* 6-7 Sr. 17.0 9.1
Averaging almost a double-double; 16-for-30 FGs last 3 games
C 5 Justin Burns* 6-6 Jr. 7.8 6.0
Had career game at CSU Northridge with 18 points and 10 rebounds
G 3 Bobby Brown** 6-1 Jr. 19.5 2.9
CSF's 3-point career record holder has moved up to No. 12 on scoring ladder
G 0 Frank Robinson 6-4 So. 11.0 5.2
Got first start at Pacific; made all-tourney team at Florida International
G 14 Jermaine Harper* 6-3 Sr. 7.4 2.0
Averaging 16.3 points last 3 games, making 12 of 20 treys

OFF THE BENCH:
G 23 Vershan Cottrell* 6-2 Sr. 5.0 2.9
Had 12 points in first half vs. Cal Poly but scoreless in second half
G 22 John Clemmons* 6-0 Sr. 2.4 1.4
Career-high 10 points vs. UCSB including career-best two treys in two tries
C 34 Gary Nunez 6-7 Jr. 3.3 1.7
Had 8 points, 4 rebounds in 11 minutes at FIU
C 15 Curtis Battles 6-10 Jr. 2.6 2.0
Slimmed down JC transfer scored 7 points in final 2 minutes at Kansas State
C 52 Manny Montano 6-10 Jr. 1.4 0.8
Palomar College transfer known for shot blocking abilities
G 11 Damien Massey 5-11 RFr. 0.0 0.0 Has played only vs. Hope International

SIDELINED:
G 33 Jerard Moret 6-4 Fr. 4.3 3.8
Broke bone in his right ring finger; no surgery, will be reevaluated next week
*letters earned

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 40-33 in his third year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .548, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). At 21-19, Burton has the only winning record in conference play among all Titan head coaches. He is 3-1 vs. UC Riverside including 1-1 on the road. This will be his first meeting against first-year UCR Coach David Spencer.

SERIES HISTORY: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series vs. UC Riverside, 13-12, thanks to three consecutive victories. The teams are 5-5 in the last five years with UCR holding a 3-2 edge in Riverside. Fullerton won last year's matchups, 74-71 in Titan Gym behind sophomore Bobby Brown's 23 points, and 76-55 at the Student Recreation Center behind 23 points from senior Yaphett King. Porter scored 8 and 15 points, respectively, for UC Riverside.

THE BROWNS DELIVER: Junior Bobby (19.5 pg) and senior Jamaal (17.0 ppg) have scored 47 percent of the Titans' points this year and rank Nos. 2 and 4, respectively, in the Big West Conference in scoring behind Cal State Northridge's Mike Efevberha (21.7 ppg). Jamaal is virtually tied with Christian Maraker of Pacific for the rebounding lead at 9.1 per game and Bobby leads the team in assists (4.0 per game) to rank second in the Big West. Both made the all-tournament team at San Francisco and Bobby also made the FIU all-tourney team.

BOBBY FOCAL POINT: Junior point guard Bobby Brown is drawing more attention from opposing defenses as well as NBA scouts while trying to exert more leadership as the team's only two-year letterman. At Cal State Northridge on Saturday he passed Chris Dade to rank No. 1 in Titan career 3-point field goals and now has 196. He is the 18th member of the Titans' 1,000-point club and currently ranks No. 12 at 1,160. Just ahead at No. 11 is Kevin Heenan at 1,163 and No. 10 is Gary Davis at 1,165. Bobby has 298 career assists and needs 41 more to crack the all-time Titan top five. He is wearing an arm sleeve this year (see Allen Iverson). Of late he has scored effectively in only one half per game. Vs. UCSB on Jan. 4 he was 5-for-6 for 10 points in the first half and 0-for-9 in a scoreless second half. He didn't score in the first half at CSUN on Jan. 7 on 0-for-6 shooting but made 6-of-6 in the second half for 17 points. At Pacific on Jan. 9 he was 7-for-10 in an 18-point first half but missed his first nine shots after intermission before making his last two. He leads the Big West in 3-pointers made per game (3.15) and is No. 2 in assists.

JAMAAL WAS ON A ROLL: Senior Jamaal Brown became only the third Titan (Leon Wood and Cedric Ceballos) to post back-to-back 30-point games with 30 vs. Chicago State and 36 at USF on Dec. 9 & 10. His 36-point one-game effort is topped only by Richard Morton's Div. I school record of 38 (vs. UC Irvine, 1/7/88). Ironically, Morton, currently the head coach of the San Francisco Pilots ABA team, was in attendance that night. Brown has had only three double-doubles (30 points, 13 rebounds vs. Chicago State; 13 points, 12 rebounds at Florida International and 16 points, 11 rebounds at CSU Northridge) but would be AVERAGING a double-double with 12 more total rebounds. He had eight double-doubles last year. He made 5-of-9 shots vs. UCSB and 5-of-6 at CSU Northridge after making only 14-of-48 shots (.292) in the three previous games.

BURNS BECOMES KEY: Junior Justin Burns has become probably the key Titan performer with the Browns consistently starring. Burns is easily the most improved Titan and they need him to stay out of foul trouble due to the lack of consistent play by the big men off the bench. His absence due to foul trouble was critical in the losses at USF, vs. Cal Poly and at Pacific. He is tied for seventh in the Big West in rebounding at 6.0 per game. He had the best game of his career at Cal State Northridge on Saturday, scoring a career-high 18 points and matching his rebounding best with 10. He attempted 20 free throws (making 12) to come up only two shy of the CSF school record of 22 attempts by Leon Wood on Nov. 19, 1981, vs. Texas-Arlington.

SUPER SUB STARTS: Sophomore Frank Robinson had been the key Titan off the bench before earning a starter's role at Pacific. He is the No. 3 scorer at 11.0 points per game, the No. 3 rebounder at 5.2 per game and is shooting a team-best .438 from the 3-point line and .815 from the foul line. Twice he has scored 20 points -- vs. Hope and at CSUN. In the Florida International Tournament, he had 9 steals in the two games and made the all-tournament team. In addition to making the transition from idle redshirt year to a new system, he also is learning the power forward position on the run. He has scored in double figures in each of the past six games.

Jermaine Harper: The senior guard has regained the form of his junior season in the last three games after a long shooting slump. In the last 3 games he is 17-for-29 (.586) from the floor including 12-of-20 (.600) from the 3-point line to average 16.3 points. In the previous five games he was 3-for-22 from behind the arc. In the first 10 games he was 15-for-60 from the floor and 9-of-44 from trey-land. He did not score in 21 minutes in the game vs. Cal Poly. In his Titan career he has had five games of 20 or more points and 15 of 4 points or less. Last year he made 70 of 191 treys (.366 percentage) and tied for fifth most in a season by a Titan. This season he is shooting .360 and is on pace to make about 69. He played all 40 minutes at Pacific as he appears to be in game shape after a Fall rehabilitation from a cyst removal.

Vershan Cottrell: The other senior off guard continues to play above his 2004-05 level. He was the Titans' leading scorer (15 points) at Kansas State and he made all 5 shots in the first half vs. Cal Poly on his way to 12 points. He did not get a shot in the second half. Last year he averaged roughly 2 points and 1 rebound but this year is at 5.0 points and 2.9 rebounds and has started 10 times.

John Clemmons: The third senior guard has emerged as much more than Bobby Brown's caddy. He has provided a consistent defensive spark off the bench and, playing with Brown moving to the off guard, he is emerging as an offensive threat. He had a career-high 10 points vs. UCSB including a career-best two 3-point field goals (in 2 tries). His assist/turnover ratio (31 / 13) is outstanding at 2.38-to-1 (the Big West leader is 2.28) but he needs to have 3 assists per game to qualify for the conference leader board.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Fullerton played only 12 of its 32 games last year in Titan Gym and this year's schedule shows another dozen games at home and at least 16 on the road. The Titans did not have a home game between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, making trips to South Dakota/Kansas, San Francisco, San Jose and Miami. In a 46-day span, they were on the road for at least part of 23 days. Going back to last season, the Titans are 16-13 in their last 29 games away from Titan Gym.

WESTCHESTER CONNECTION: Assistant Coach Marlon Morton joins the Titans' staff this year after a long career assisting at Westchester High School, one of California's most successful prep basketball programs in recent times. He sees a lot of familiar faces since Bobby Brown, John Clemmons, Jerard Moret and redshirts Scott Cutley and Jarrel Lake all played for the Comets.

LOOKING BACK: Last year's Titans team accomplished a remarkable number of positive statistics and records, most notably tying for the second most victories in a Div. I season (21 vs. 23 in 1977-78 and 21 in 1982-83) and posting only the third and fourth post-season (NIT) wins in school history to complete the first winning season since 1992-93.

HALFTIME INDICATORS: Fullerton is 5-4 after leading at the half, 1-0 when tied and 2-1 when trailing. The Titans have been outscored by 40 points in the second halves and by 2 points in overtime.

FALL SIGNEES: After a major emphasis on size in last year's recruiting class, the Titans have looked more to the wings in recruiting for 2006-07. Signing in the early November signing period were Kent State transfer guard Marcus Crenshaw (5-10), Boise State transfer forward Andrew Green (6-6) and West Valley College forward Marcus Morgan (6-5). The Titans also have a pair of four-year college transfers redshirting: forward Scott Cutley (6-5) from Kent State and guard Ray Reed (6-1) from Georgetown.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Seven players on last year's team are no longer on the roster. Ralphy Holmes graduated in August and is playing in the CBA with the Yakama team. Yaphett King is attempting to play professionally in a foreign country. Hardy Asprilla remains in school and is assisting the players with academics while providing an experienced and inspirational voice from near the bench. Derek Quinet had two years of eligibility remaining but decided to focus on his classroom work this year. Danny Lambert quit the team in October and redshirt Adam Tancredi quit on Dec. 11. Drew Awad passed away on Dec. 26 after battling for more than a year against a reoccurrence of leukemia.

GO EAST YOUNG MEN: Cal State Fullerton in December played on the East Coast for the third time in 14 months after making only one appearance there in the previous 30 years (at Providence, Connecticut and Richmond in 1974-75). The Titans opened last season at a tournament at Central Connecticut State in New Britain and ended it with a post-season NIT game at Georgetown in the nation's capital.