January 27, 2009

Titans Take Road Magic to Long Beach

Jan. 26, 2009

Long Beach, Calif. -

UPCOMING:

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
Thur., Feb. 5 -- UC Santa Barbara, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 7 -- Cal Poly SLO, Titan Gym (4,000), 6:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: The unpredictable Titans (9-10, 3-4) get to play one more road game before they have to host a 3-game homestand. Sounds odd, but let the record show that the Titans are 3-1 (the loss in overtime) on the road in Big West Conference play and 0-3 at home, losing by an average of 17.3 points per game. The 49ers are one of the surprise teams of the season, jumping out to a 5-0 conference mark before losing at home Saturday night to UC Riverside.

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 Long Beach State 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. 23.0 3.4r Ninth in the nation in scoring thru games of Jan. 25
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 11.7 4.2a Last 8 games averaging 17.0 points, making 22 of 42 (.524) 3-pointers
G 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 5.3 2.3r Season-best 13 points vs. Pacific; 9 points, 6 rebounds as starter at CSUN
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 4.7 3.3r Leads team with .621 field-goal percentage; got third start at CSUN
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 10.1 6.1r Back-to-back double-digit scoring games vs. Pacific (12) and CSUN (14)
OFF THE BENCH:
G 11 Marcio Lassiter* 6-2 Sr. 9.3 2.7r Matched career high with 17 points at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 21
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 4.1 4.8r Second in Big West with 1.63 blocked shots per game
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 7.6 3.6r Averaging 9.1 points off the bench but only 6.5 as a starter
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 0.7 1.0a Scored first points on Mainland with deuce vs. CSU Bakersfield
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 0.8 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 have played Long Beach State more than any other school, trailing in the series, 57-38. Fullerton swept last year's two meetings to stop a 6-game losing streak to the 49ers. Fullerton is 4-10 in the Walter Pyramid, winning last season, 91-75.

ABOUT THE 49ers: Long Beach State (10-8, 5-1) is coming off its first Big West Conference loss of the young season, 64-55, to UC Riverside on Saturday night. Leading scorer Donovan Morris (16.4 ppg) made only 3 of 16 shots (1-for-10 3-pointers) as the 49ers shot only 33 percent from the floor. The 49ers have good scoring balance with Stephan Gilling (10.3 ppg), Casper Ware (9.2 ppg) and Larry Anderson (8.8 ppg) supporting Morris, who totaled 56 points in two games vs. Fullerton last season.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 101-70 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .591, 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 2-0 against Long Beach State and Coach Dan Monson.

ROAD WARRIORS: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past four seasons plus this year (5-7) , they are 46-38 (.548) 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 49-49 (.500).

NERVOUS TIME: Fullerton's four Big West road games have gone down to the last seconds 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, created a turnover with nine seconds left at UCSB and needed a Chris Rhymes free throw with 1.2 seconds left to clinch a 4-point win at Cal State Northridge. Marcio Lassiter clinched the Cal Poly and UCSB wins 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 1-8).

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 (75.9 ppg), 3-point field goals made (7.95 per game) and blocked shots (3.74) while being last only in scoring defense (76.3 ppg) and next-to-last in rebound margin (minus 4.5). Individually, Josh Akognon leads the Big West in scoring (23.0 ppg), free-throw percentage (.907) and 3-pointers made per game (3.84)... Gerard Anderson is No. 1 in steals at 1.83 and Jacques Streeter is No. 1 in 3-point field goal percentage at .508... Papa Guisse is No. 2 in blocked shots at 1.63 and Streeter is No. 2 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.90.

NEW PARKING FEE: Effective with the Jan. 31 game vs. UC Riverside, an \$8 special events parking fee will be charged at all weekend Cal State Fullerton home men's basketball and baseball games. Previously, parking fees were charged only for weeknight games.