January 11, 2011

Hospitable Mott Gym Awaits Titans' Cagers

Jan. 11, 2011

San Luis Obispo, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Thur., Jan. 13 -- at Cal Poly, Mott Gym (3,032), 7 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 15 -- at Cal State Northridge, The Matadome (1,600), 7:05 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 19 -- Long Beach State, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (6-10, 2-2) take to the road for the second week in a row but visit venues where they have enjoyed remarkable success of late -- although not on the same trip. Fullerton has won its last four games at Cal Poly and last seven at Cal State Northridge. But Cal Poly was paired with UCSB for years and was a solo trip last season. Northridge typically was paired with Pacific. Fullerton is 2-8 away from Titan Gym this season.

AUDIO: Most Titan games can be heard live on the internet (but not the Cal Poly game). Listeners may access the CSF Athletics home page at www.fullertontitans.com and follow the links. Mike Martinez is the usual play-by-play announcer.

VIDEO: ALL Big West Conference home games can be viewed on computers via BigWest subscription TV.

POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP:
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg a/rpg Quick Notes
G 21 Perry Webster 6-1 Jr. 8.3 5.6a 3rd in nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.65 to 1); missed UCR game w/concussion
G 3 Devon Peltier* 5-11 Sr. 13.8 1.9r Averaged 22 pts. last week, making 9-of-19 treys; beat UoP with trey at 00.4
G 15 Orane Chin* 6-7 Jr. 14.8 6.2r Scored career-high 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting at Portland State
F 0 Andre Hardy 6-6 Jr. 15.3 9.8r Pair of double-doubles in four games; twice a rebound shy of two more
C 12 Jer'Vaughn Johnson* 6-6 Sr. 14.8 6.2r Career-high 14 rebounds in double-double at UC Riverside

OFF THE BENCH:
G 11 Roger Guardia 6-4 Sr. 2.3 2.3r Season-high 14 pts. vs. USD, made all four 3-point attempts; started at UofA
G 13 Isiah Umipig 6-1 Fr. 7.6 1.5r Back-to-back season-high 19-point efforts at UCI and UCR
G 14 Orlando Brown 6-1 Jr. 3.9 3.5r Playing time increased to 42 minutes combined vs. Pacific and UCI
G 32 Eric Williams* 6-3 Sr. 0.9 1.5r Walk-on played solid 19 minutes including all of overtime in win at UCR
C 33 Sedric Martin 6-6 Jr. 3.2 1.8r Scored 13 points in first start of season at USC
F 45 Steve Jurich 6-7 Jr. 2.9 2.0r Got third start of season vs. Occidental
*letters earned

HOW YOU SAY IT: dee-VAHN pehl-tee-AY &\#149; Steve JUHR-itch &\#149; OHR-uhn Chin &\#149; Roger GWAHR-dee-uh &\#149; igh-ZAY-uh YOO-muh-pig

LAST GAME: The Titans tried to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory Saturday night at UC Riverside before bowing their necks and winning in overtime by denying the Highlanders a field goal. UCR's Javon Borum scored 5 points in the final 2.1 seconds of regulation thanks to a "sixth" Fullerton timeout call to forge a 73-73 tie and force an extra five minutes. Devon Peltier bracketed the OT with a pair of 3-point baskets for an 83-77 win accomplished despite the absence of point guard Perry Webster. All five Titan starters were in double figures but the bench provided only one point -- the final one.

NO EXPERIENCE: With no two-years or more lettermen, the Titans field a roster that has a total of only nine seasons of Div. I experience (Johnson 3, Hardy 2, Chin 2, Williams 1 and Peltier 1) and only four of those are at Fullerton (Johnson, Chin, Williams and Peltier, 1 each). With Johnson and Hardy sidelined, the Titans took only eight healthy scholarship players to Oahu with a total of four seasons of Div. I experience.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 129-102 in his eighth season at Cal State Fullerton and career. He has the most victories at the Div. I level and trails only Alex Omalev (139-176 in 12 years) all-time. Burton's winning percentage of .558 trails only Bobby Dye (.583, 109-78). He is 9-6 vs. Cal Poly including 5-2 in Mott Gym.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 66-31 (.680) in Titan Gym including 35-4 (.897) in non-conference games. Fullerton had won its last 13 and 32 of the last 33 home non-conference games prior to the Dec. 22 loss to Montana. Fullerton's all-time Div. I Titan Gym record is 291-165 (.638). Fullerton also is 1-8 in regular season home games at the Anaheim Convention Center.

ROAD STRUGGLES: Under Bob Burton, the Titans had made dramatic strides as a road team before this year's 2-8 effort. They are 60-60 (.500) away from Titan Gym (includes 11-15 on neutral floors) from 2004-05 through the present. 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 63-71 (.470).

SECOND-HALF DEFENSIVE WOES: Titan opponents are averaging 33+ points in the first half and 40+ in the second half. At USC (49), at Montana (52), at Portland State (51) and vs. UC Davis (52) have been the biggest explosions. Only twice (CSU Bakersfield - 46 and 29 on Nov. 27; USD - 39 and 37 on Dec. 4) has an opponent scored fewer points in the second half than the first. On Dec. 30, Pacific managed a Fullerton-opponent season's low of 19 points in the first half (with a 2-0 headstart before the tip) but erupted for 32 in the second half.

ABOUT THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly (6-8, 2-1) is coming off a pair of defensive-oriented road wins at Pacific (43-39) and UC Davis (48-43). Five previous times they have held the opponent to 53 or fewer points and their defensive average for the season is 57.9 points, best in the conference. Offensively, David Hanson (14.9 ppg) and Shawn Lewis (13.3 ppg) are the leaders. Cal Poly is shooting only .367 as a team overall and .284 from the 3-point line.

SERIES HISTORY: Cal Poly leads it, 29-23, but only 15-14 at the Div. I level (since 1996-97). Fullerton has won five of the last six meetings including four in a row in Mott Gym.

KEY STATISTIC: Fullerton has outrebounded its opponent only seven times this year and five occurrences coincided with a victory. The edge in boards was 39-34 in a 3-point win at San Diego, 43-20 in a 10-point home win over Cal State Bakersfield, 27-24 in a 90-76 win over USD, 24-21 in a 76-48 home win vs. Occidental and 49-37 in Saturday's 83-77 win at UC Riverside. Fullerton outrebounded the much taller UC Davis Aggies on Dec. 28, 36-33, but lost to superior 3-point shooting, and outrebounded UC Irvine on Jan. 5, 36-33, but coughed up 24 turnovers to lose. The only win when CSF was outrebounded (32 to 30) was 54-51 vs. Pacific.

GO FIGURE: Fullerton committed only 3 turnovers in the win over Pacific, the lowest number in the Bob Burton Era and possibly a school record. The previous low for a Burton team was 7 (on 8 occasions). In records dating back to the 1982-83 season, the previous low was 4 vs. UC Irvine in 1988-89 and vs. San Jose State in 1987-88. But in the next game at UCI, Fullerton committed 24 including five on the first six trips down the floor. Saturday at UCR the number was 21 including 13 in a 24-point first half.

NO LEAD IS SAFE: In half of Fullerton's six wins, the Titans have needed a last-second reprieve after blowing a commanding lead. At San Diego on Nov. 1, the lead was 55-48 with about 7 minutes to play before USD had a 10-0 run only to eventually miss three shots in the paint to take a lead in the final five seconds and then a trey at the buzzer to tie. Vs. Pacific on Dec. 30, the Titans led, 51-39 at 5:16 only to go scoreless until Devon Peltier's tie-breaking, lucky bounce 3-pointer with 00.4 on the clock. At Riverside on Saturday, the lead was 73-68 with six seconds to go but UCR tied it on a 3-pointer and two foul shots stemming from a technical foul for a "sixth" timeout.

LINEUP DIVERSITY: In 16 games, the Titans have utilized 11 different starting lineups, due in great part to the delayed arrivals of Jer'Vaughn Johnson and Andre Hardy, not to mention the absence of any returning starters other than Johnson from 2009-10.

TITAN PLAYER THUMBNAILS:
Orlando Brown - playing time has diminished with the arrivals of first Jer'Vaughn Johnson and now Andre Hardy... but he played total of 42 minutes in back-to-back games vs. UoP and at UCI... started first 8 games of the season... averaged 29 minutes over first six games vs. 12 minutes over last 10 games with TOTAL of 16 points and 20 rebounds... twice has grabbed 9 boards in a game... usually guards opponents' top scoring threat... scored season-high 11 points vs. Cal State Bakersfield.

Orane Chin - scored career-high 32 points at Portland State on 13-of-22 shooting (4 of 7 treys)... made the Rainbow Classic all-tournament team, averaging 22.7 points and 6.0 rebounds over 3 games... had 12 rebounds vs. Central Michigan... has struggled against "twin towers," averaging 5 points (5-for-26 shooting) at USC (6-10 and 6-10) and vs. Montana (7-0 and 6-11) while averaging 18 points against everyone else... played small forward last year and started there for first time this year vs. Oxy.

Roger Guardia - after averaging 19 minutes over five games between Nov. 30 to Dec. 18, has played a total of only 50 minutes in last five games... grabbed 9 rebounds at Montana and against USD had 14 points including 4-for-4 from 3-point line... had 2 points in first start at Arizona.

Andre Hardy - in first four games since returning from ankle surgery is averaging almost a double-double at 15.3 ppg and 9.8 rpg... after a rusty first half vs. Montana on Dec. 22 (in first game action since March, 2009, in the NCAA Tournament for Oral Roberts), had 11 points and 8 rebounds after intermission to post only the third double-double (11 pts., 11 rebs.) by a Titan this season... almost did it again vs. UC Davis with team-high 19 points and 9 rebounds in a starting role and had 17 points and 9 boards vs. Pacific before being ejected for "fighting" with 2:57 to play... missed game at UCI but came back with second double-double (14 pts., 10 rebs.) at UCR on Saturday.

Jer'Vaughn Johnson - only returning starter from last year...strained knee ligament in early practice session; released to practice again on Nov. 18 and played 13 minutes off the bench at USC on Nov. 24... has been most consistent Titan player... second in Big West to CSUN's Lenny Daniel in field-goal percentage at .570... in last five games has been eerily consistent from the floor -- 6-of-12 three games in a row and then 5-of-10 and 7-of-12 for 15, 15, 12, 14 and 17 points... made all 7 shots and all 5 free throws in 19-point game at Portland State before fouling out with 1:16 to play... shot only .405 (17 for 42) vs. USC and Montana but is at .658 (52 for 79) against all others.

Steve Jurich - averaged 8 points and 2.5 rebounds in two starts in Hawai'i before back problem sidelined him... came off the bench at San Diego and played 21 minutes with 5 points and 5 rebounds... had season-high 7 rebounds at Montana... started again vs. Occidental.

Sedric Martin - had season-high 5 rebounds in 11 minutes at UCI after not playing at all in two previous games... got first start at USC and made 6-of-9 shots against the Trojans' twin 6-10 towers and scored 13 points... hit two free throws at 3:39 to tie Hawai'i game at 70-70.

Devon Peltier - emerged from shooting slump last week... at UCI in first half was 6-for-9 including 4-of-7 treys on way to 19 points... finished 7/14 and 4/10 with 23 points... at UCR led team with 21 points on 8-of-14 (5-of-9 treys) shooting... 6 points came in OT... had averaged only 6.6 points (11-for-35 FGs, 7-for-22 treys) over previous five games after averaging 16 points over first 9 games... hit game-winning trey in final second to beat Pacific on Dec. 30... led the Titans with 15 points at USC and 20 at Montana and in between was most of the Titans' offense in the second half at San Diego, scoring 14 of his career and game-high 24 points... had 19 points in second USD win... led team with 19 at Arizona, making 4 of 6 treys.

Isiah Umipig - came of age last week... led desperate but unsuccessful second-half rally at UCI by scoring 16 points in final 6 minutes for season-high 19 points (5-of-5 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs)....started for injured Perry Webster at UCR and scored 19 again including 7 in first 4 minutes of second half to almost erase 8-point deficit and then back-to-back buckets in final five minutes when UCR had pulled within a point... "saved the game" for the Titans per Coach Burton vs. Occidental... came off the bench to score 13 of his then season-high 15 points before intermission including team's final seven of the period... hit game-tying trey vs. Central Michigan with 1:01 to play... averaging 9.7 points away from Titan Gym and only 4.0 at home.

Perry Webster - missed UCR game due to concussion suffered late in game at UCI, where he had worst statistical game of the season with 4 turnovers and 3 assists... still leads Big West in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.65 to 1.0 (84 to 23)... began week third in the nation (leader is Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin at 4.24-to-1)... after scoreless game at USC came back for season-high 17 points vs. Cal State Bakersfield and matched that vs. Occidental... has had zero turnovers in five of his 15 games including second USD win when he had 10 assists... also had 10 assists in double-double with 10 points at Portland State... scored only 5 points at San Diego but they turned a 58-55 deficit into a 60-58 lead on back-to-back possessions (2 free throws and a trey around his steal)... had 4 steals at USC.

Eric Williams - walk-on played solid 19 minutes Saturday in win at UC Riverside... got first career start at San Diego as Titans went "big," starting him (6-3) in place of 6-1 Umipig, who had started against Montana State... hit first trey of season vs. Occidental... started again on Dec. 28 vs. UC Davis.