January 20, 2009

Friendly Road Takes Titans to CSUN

Jan. 20, 2009

Northridge, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Wed., Jan. 21 -- at Cal State Northridge, The Matadome (1,600), 7:05 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 29 -- at Long Beach State, Walter Pyramid (4,200), 7:05 p.m.
Sat. Jan. 31 -- UC Riverside, Titan Gym (4,000), 6:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (8-10, 2-4) make a quick road trip to Northridge where they will try to snap a 2-game losing streak, both at home. It's their only game of the week. The Titans have won their last two road games and have won five in a row at Northridge. However, the Matadors logged a 26-point win (90-64) at Fullerton on Dec. 29.

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 and Eric Pessalano will call the Cal State Northridge 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
G 1 Josh Akognon* 6-1 Sr. 23.4 3.3r Seventh in the nation in scoring thru games of Jan. 18
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 10.9 4.1a Last 7 games averaging 15.6 points, making 19 of 37 3-pointers
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 4.2 4.9r Leads Big West with 1.72 blocked shots per game
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 9.9 5.9r Missed almost two full games with ankle injury in first minute vs. CMU
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 8.1 3.8r Averaging 9.3 points off the bench but only 6.5 as a starter
OFF THE BENCH:
G 11 Marcio Lassiter* 6-2 Sr. 8.9 2.7r Averaging 9.9 points as a starter and 7.9 off the bench
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 4.6 3.3r Leads team with .618 field-goal percentage
F 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 5.1 2.1r Scored 10 pts. in first half vs. Charlotte; season-best 13 vs. Pacific
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 0.8 1.1a Scored first points on Mainland with deuce vs. CSU Bakersfield
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 0.9 0.8r 4 points on 2-for-2 shooting at Montana State
F 5 Regan Andersen 6-7 Jr. 1.6 1.4r Well-traveled Milwaukee native; walk-on transfer from Oxnard College
G 44 Kwasi Mensah 6-3 Fr. 0.0 0.0a Walk-on from Rancho Cucamonga HS
*letters earned

EASY FOR ME TO SAY: Josh ah-KOY-uhn &\#149; POP gee-SAY &\#149; Ameer shahm-suh-DEEN &\#149; zyah-KEESE Streeter &\#149; KWAH-zee Mensah &\#149; REE-guhn Andersen

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans lead the all-time series, 32-25. The Matadors have won two of the last three after an 8-game Titan win streak but the Titans have won five in a row in the Matadome.

ABOUT THE MATADORS: Cal State Northridge is 6-9 overall and 3-2 in the Big West, losing at home to Pacific in overtime and at Long Beach State on Saturday night. Leading scorer Deon Tresvant (13.3 ppg), who led the Matadors with 20 points in their 90-64 win in Titan Gym on Dec. 29, remains suspended along with reserve guard Dallas Rutherford after an off-campus police matter. Center Tremaine Townsend is averaging 8.1 rebounds and had 28 in the last two games. He's the No. 2 scorer at 12.4 ppg but Willie Balick (10.6 ppg) and Rob Haynes (10.4 ppg) are close behind.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 100-70 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .588, Burton is the winningest coach in Titan history. Alex Omalev, who passed away on Nov. 10 at the age of 88, has the most total victories (139-176) followed by George McQuarn (122-117). Bobby Dye is second in winning percentage at .583 (109-78). Burton is 10-4 against CSUN and Coach Bobby Braswell, 5-0 in the Matadome.

ROAD WARRIORS: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past four seasons plus this year (4-7) , they are 45-38 (.542) away from Titan Gym (includes 10-9 on neutral floors). 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 48-49 (.495).

NERVOUS TIME: Fullerton's three Big West road games have gone down to the last possession of regulation. The Titans missed a couple of shots at the regulation buzzer at UC Irvine, survived two misses in the final nine seconds at Cal Poly and created a turnover with nine seconds left at UCSB. Marcio Lassiter clinched each win with a pair of free throws -- with 0.2 seconds at Cal Poly and 4.1 seconds at UCSB.

SLOW STARTS: After a series of non-conference games with very poor starts to the second half, the Titans are now struggling after the opening tip-off in Big West play... At both Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara, the Titans fell behind, 9-0, to start the game... And at home vs. Cal State Northridge on Dec. 29, they found themselves in a 10-0 hole... At UCI they got off to an early 6-2 lead but then fell behind, 15-10... Thursday night vs. UC Davis they saw an 8-8 tie turn into a 23-12 deficit and Saturday night vs. Pacific they fell behind 4-0 and 16-9 and never led.

MISSING LINK: Finding a consistent third 3-point shooter to complement Josh Akognon and Jacques Streeter is becoming a more elusive goal for the Titans. Aaron Thompson hasn't made a trey in the last four games (0-for-8), is only 2-for-17 in his past 7 games and is at .205 for the season. Marcio Lassiter was 0-for-7 in the last two games and is shooting only .275 for the season.

NOTEWORTHY TRIP: Fullerton's sweep of the Central Coast trip to SLO and Santa Barbara was only its second in the 13 years Cal Poly has been in the Big West. There also have been eight splits and three 0-2's. And the 62-58 win at UCSB was noteworthy since it was the lowest scoring victory in the Bob Burton Era as well as Fullerton's first this season after trailing at the half (now 1-6).

LOSING BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Not surprisingly, given the heights on the roster and the quality of the competition, rebounding has been a problem for the Titans in 2008-09, particularly at the defensive end... Although outrebounded by only about 4.7 per game, the Titans have had some glaring disparities and have given up almost 15 offensive rebounds per game... Three of the four worst rebounding disparities of the Bob Burton Era have occurred this season -- minus 29 (56 vs. 27) at LSU, minus 22 (54 vs. 32) vs. Saint Mary's and minus 18 (37 vs. 19) in a win at home over Montana State... the other game in that neighborhood was minus 23 (50 vs. 27) vs. Wisconsin in last year's NCAA Tournament... Saint Mary's grabbed 26 offensive rebounds and both LSU and Central Michigan got 20... only one other team (Cal State Northridge with 21 on Feb. 10, 2007) has collected 20 or more offensive rebounds against a Burton team at CSF.

BIG WEST LEADERS: Just beyond the midway point of the regular season, the Titans are in the middle of the pack in most Big West Conference team categories. They lead only in scoring (75.1 ppg), 3-point field goals made (7.83 per game) and blocked shots (3.72) while being last only in scoring defense (75.7 ppg) and next-to-last in rebound margin (minus 4.7). Individually, Josh Akognon leads the Big West in scoring (23.4 ppg), free-throw percentage (.903) and 3-pointers made per game (3.94)... Papa Guisse is No. 1 in blocked shots at 1.72, Gerard Anderson is No. 1 in steals at 1.88 and Jacques Streeter is No. 2 in 3-point field goal percentage at .500.