January 31, 2007

Critical Road Swing Begins at UCR

Jan. 31, 2007

Fullerton, Calif. -

UPCOMING:
Sat., Feb. 3 -- at UC Riverside, 5:05 p.m.
Thur., Feb. 8 -- at Pacific, 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 10 -- at Cal State Northridge, 7:05 p.m.

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SCHEDULE CHANGES:
Add a Feb. 17 game at Wright State, time tba, as part of the O'Reilly ESPNU Bracket Buster program.
Change tip off time on Feb. 24 to 1:05 p.m. to accommodate FSN Prime Ticket TV.

IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (16-4, 6-2) has matched the best overall and conference starts in school history but now must embark on a 3-game road swing away from friendly Titan Gym (11-0). The 1982-83 team opened 16-4 and 6-2 and went to 17-4 and 7-2 to set the standard. The Titans jumped up from No. 18 last week to No. 13 in the current CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.

INTERNET 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. Todd Reeves will be the announcer for the UC Riverside game. INTERNET 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
C 5 Justin Burns** 6-7 Sr. 11.4 7.2r Third in the Big West in rebounding; 8-for-13 from floor last week, 1-for-7 at line
F 2 Scott Cutley 6-5 Jr. 16.9 9.4r Big West player of week after making 20 of 27 shots for 53 points w/21 boards
G 3 Bobby Brown*** 6-2 Sr. 19.8 5.4a Titans' No. 2 career scorer trails leader Wood by 125 points; got only 6 vs. UCI
G 22 Ray Reed 5-11 Jr. 9.6 3.6a Came out of UC Irvine game with foot injury
G 0 Frank Robinson* 6-4 Jr. 11.6 5.4r Played huge part in sweep of UCI including last-second game-winner at Bren

OFF THE BENCH:
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw 5-10 So. 11.7 2.5a Definite candidate for "sixth man of year" award; averages 0.53 pts. per minute
C 42 Andrew Green 6-6 Jr. 4.4 3.3r Had 8 points in 12 minutes vs. UC Riverside; 6 points, 6 boards at UC Irvine
F 43 Chris Minardo 6-10 So. 4.4 2.2r Had 5 points, 4 rebounds in 11 quality minutes at Pepperdine
F 34 Marcus Morgan 6-5 Jr. 1.8 2.6r Started first three games; sidelined by knee problem for three games
F 21 Kenneth Alexander 6-6 Jr. 3.7 3.2r Got first start vs. Bethune-Cookman; 6 rebounds in solid 25 minutes at UCLA
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: Fullerton leads the all-time series vs. UC Riverside, 15-13, with a 7-6 advantage since UCR began its move to Div. I. The teams have split six games in the Student Recreation Center. Fullerton, which rolled to a 98-58 win in Titan Gym on Jan. 13, has won on its last two visits to the Student Recreation Center.

ABOUT THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside snapped a 15-game losing streak with a 70-50 win over UC Davis Saturday, two days after the Aggies lost by only 7 points in Titan Gym. Interim Coach Vonn Webb has run the team since David Spencer took a medical leave of absence but that situation could change this week. Larry Cunningham (10.5ppg), Justin Bell (10.0) and Chris Johnson (9.9) are the leading scorers from the perimeter while Henrik Thomsen (9.2) is the chief inside threat. Johnson had 19 to lead the Highlanders in the first meeting.

ABOUT THE TITANS: Last week's win over UC Davis clinched their third consecutive winning season, something that hadn't been done in Fullerton since Coach George McQuarn posted four winning records between 1981-82 and 1984-85. Through Jan. 28, only 16 teams in Div. I had fewer than 4 losses. They have matched the best 20-game record in the school's history and the 6-2 start in conference play matches the best Div. I start. The Titans feature three returning "regulars" in seniors Bobby Brown at point guard and Justin Burns at center and junior guard Frank Robinson, who was the Big West Conference's "sixth-man" of the year in 2005-06. Four-year transfers Scott Cutley and Marcus Crenshaw from Kent State and Ray Reed from Georgetown have made an immediate impact along with community college transfers Andrew Green from College of the Sequoias, Kenneth Alexander and Marcus Morgan from West Valley and Chris Minardo from Citrus College. Four of the five starters plus Crenshaw are averaging in double figures in scoring.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 64-45 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At ..587, he has the best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, having surpassed Bobby Dye (109-78, .583) on Jan. 25. The recent 5-game winning streak matched a similar one in 2004-05 for the best of the Burton Era. He is 5-2 vs. UCR, 2-1 in Riverside.

ON THE ROAD: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past two seasons plus this year to date they are 25-21 away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115. Burton's total CSF road record is 28-32.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 36-13 (.735) in Titan Gym and have a 15-game winning streak alive including 11-0 this season. In Big West play they are 4-0 at home, where they were only 2-5 last year.

HOME-COURT WIN STREAKS: This is Fullerton's fifth double-digit home-court winning streak since moving to Div. I in 1974-75. 26 games - Jan. 30, 1982 thru Jan. 21, 1984; ended on Jan. 26, 1984 in an 81-80 loss to UC Irvine 15 games - current ... began Feb. 11, 2006, with an 81-63 win over Cal State Northridge 13 games - Feb. 4, 1989 thru Feb. 3, 1990; ended on Feb. 15, 1990 in a 75-70 loss to UC Santa Barbara 12 games - Feb. 6, 1992 thru Feb. 6, 1993; ended on Feb. 10, 1993 in a 77-63 loss to Houston 10 games - Jan. 20, 1977 thru Dec. 19, 1977; ended on Jan. 7, 1978 in an 88-85 loss to Illinois State

BEST HOME RECORDS: Fullerton's best home record for a season is 13-0 in 1982-83, which was the heart of the 26-game streak. The next-best marks by percentage are: .889 (8-1) in 1975-76; .846 (11-2) in 1977-78; .838 (9-2) in 1976-77; and .833 (10-2) in 1981-82 and 2004-05. The Titan Gym record at the Div. I level (since 1974-75) is .639 (260-147).

NEW FRILLS: Not coincidental to the recent home success, a squad of cheerleaders was added to the home court ambience for last season. Along with a flag carrier and a new student band, they join the entertainment package headed by the dance team, which in early January in Orlando, Florida, won its seventh national championship (Div. I, non-football schools).

BEST CONFERENCE START: In the Pacific Coast Athletic Association and the Big West Conference, Cal State Fullerton has never won more than six of its first eight league games. This is the fifth team to open 6-2 (1975-76, 1977-78, 1978-79 and 1982-83). Only the 1982-83 team won is ninth game to go to 7-2.

AMONG NCAA LEADERS: Through games of Jan. 28, the Titans were ranked No. 4 in the nation in scoring at 85.0 points per game. Bobby Brown was No. 11 in 3-point field goals made per game (3.29), No. 21 in 3-point percentage (.448) and No. 28 in scoring (19.8). The team is No. 19 in 3's made per game (8.9) and No. 29 in percentage (.394) while ranking No. 7 in assists (18.5 apg).

Bobby Brown: Senior point guard Bobby Brown is the focal point of the Cal State Fullerton program. An unheralded product of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, he has developed into one of the nation's finest players and an All-America candidate. He tested the NBA draft waters last summer but opted to return for his senior year. He has been nominated for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard and is on CollegeInsider.com's pre-season Mid-Major All-American team. He has made numerous pre-season All-Big West Conference teams and is projected as player of the year by many. Last year he was first-team All-Big West and second-team All-NABC District.

He needs 126 more points to become the Titans' all-time leading scorer, surpassing All-American, Olympic gold medalist and 6-year NBA veteran Leon Wood. He passed Richard Morton (1,705) last Thursday night at Long Beach. At Pepperdine he passed Greg Bunch and Chris Dade to move into the No. 4 spot on the list and went to No. 3 ahead of Ike Harmon (at 1,557) during the second Louisiana-Lafayette game. Brown was selected Big West Conference player of the week after his 47-point game against Bethune-Cookman, the second highest scoring total in Big West history behind 53 by Raymond Lewis of Cal State L.A. on Feb. 23, 1973, vs. Long Beach State. The 46-year-old school record was 45 points by Jon Brettman vs. Luke Air Force Base on Dec. 12, 1960. The old school Div. I record was 38 by Richard Morton on Jan. 7, 1988, vs. UC Irvine. Eleven 3-point field goals broke the CSF mark of 10 by Ryan Dillon (Jan. 31, 2001, vs. Boise State) and tied the Big West record of Chris Brown of UC Irvine on Mar. 13, 1994, vs. New Mexico State. With his next 3-point field goal, Brown will move into the No. 3 spot alone on the Big West Conference career list at 284. The record is 311 by Pacific's Adam Jacobsen in 1994-98 and second is Cal Poly's Mike Wozniak at 308. He went 0-for-4 vs. UC Irvine on Saturday, snapping a string of 20 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer. He finished with a season-low of 6 points but still had 6 assists and no turnovers.

AND MORE: Brown began this week among the Big West leaders in every category except rebounding and blocked shots. He was No. 1 in assists (5.35 apg), No. 1 in 3-point field goals (3.29 per game), No. 2 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.72), No. 2 in scoring (19.8 ppg), No. 5 in steals (1.41 per game), No. 3 in minutes played (33.94 per game), No. 9 in free-throw percentage (.762), No. 6 in 3-point field goal percentage (.448) and No. 9 in field goal percentage (.485). Frank Robinson: The junior swingman left his mark on UC Irvine in the two recent meetings. On Jan. 20 he drilled a 3-pointer with one second remaining for a 71-68 victory and then Saturday was in the middle of two key runs. He made 6 of CSF's final 8 points of the first half to send Fullerton to the locker room ahead by 4. He then hit a couple of 3-pointers as Fullerton opened a double-digit lead in the second half and then his dunk off a crowd-pleasing feed from Marcus Crenshaw sent Titan Gym into euphoria. In his only previous attempt at a game-winner, he missed a free-throw line jumper with 5 seconds remaining in the first overtime of what became a triple-overtime CSF win at UC Davis on Jan. 28, 2006. Robinson is averaging 12.8 points in 8 Big West games despite a season-low 3 points at Long Beach State. He just missed being the fourth Titan with a double-double vs. UC Riverside on Jan. 13 with 15 points and a season-high 9 rebounds.

Justin Burns: Senior center made 8 of 13 shots from the floor but only 1 of 7 from the foul line last week while averaging 8.5 points and 7 rebounds. He had a brilliant game vs. UC Riverside on Jan. 13, getting a double-double in the first half with 15 points and 10 rebounds and finishing with 19 points on 9-for-11 shooting and 14 rebounds, just shy of his career highs of 22 points and 16 rebounds. He began the week ranked No. 3 in the Big West in rebounding at 7.2 per game. He won Big West Conference Player of the Week honors in November when he posted his first pair of double-doubles in victories at Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana-Lafayette. He had a career second-best of 21 points vs. Texas-San Antonio. With five double-doubles this season (tied for second best in the Big West), he has moved into the Titans' career Top 12 list with 10.

Scott Cutley: Junior forward from Kent State earned Big West player of the week honors for his play in the home wins over UC Davis and UC Irvine. He made 20 of 27 shots including 6 of 9 3-pointers while averaging 26.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. He is playing with a splint on his left hand to protect a fracture to his thumb suffered in practice prior to the Bethune-Cookman game, which he missed. With the splint he has 187 (17.0 ppg) points and 105 (9.5 rpg) rebounds in the last 11 games including four consecutive double-doubles. He began this week ranked No. 1 in the Big West in rebounding at 9.4 per game and No. 4 in scoring at 16.9 ppg. In the last eight games he is 13-for-22(.591) from the 3-point line after starting the year 2-for-13. He broke in with a bang, scoring 31 points with 11 rebounds in his Titan debut at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 24. He scored the game-tying buckets in the final minute of both regulation and overtime. He leads the Big West in double-doubles with eight (tied for eighth on the Titans' single-season lists) and three times has come within a single rebound of three more.

RAY REED: Georgetown transfer Ray Reed leads the Titans and began the week leading the Big West Conference in steals (2.10) and is second on the team and sixth in the conference in assists (3.55). He was in double figures in scoring in each of the first five games but then went five games in single digits until a 15-point effort vs. San Jose State. He made only 1 of 11 field goals at Pepperdine but since then is 36-for-70 (.514) over the last 12 games. He just missed a triple-double against Hope International when he had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

Marcus Crenshaw: Sophomore transfer from Kent State is a leading candidate for the Big West Conference's "sixth man" award. Since starting the first 3 games in a roster shortage and averaging 18 points, he has come off the bench to average 10.5 as a substitute, usually in bunches. At UCI he scored all 10 of his points in a span of 4:05 to fuel a second-half 14-6 CSF run. Against UCR he scored 17 points in 18 minutes. He had 19 points in 18 minutes vs. San Jose State and 15 points in 20 minutes vs. Cal State Northridge. He is second on the team and in the Big West in 3-point field goals made at 2.74 per game. His .397 percentage was No. 10 in the conference to start the week. He is on pace to make 79 in a 29-game schedule which would be the third-best single-season total in CSF history. His total of 49 assists is No. 3 (tied) on the team. He has scored 0.530 points per minute played, second best on team to Bobby Brown's 0.582.

OUT OF THE BLOCKS: In 14 of their first 16 games, the Titans jumped out to double-digit first-half leads, but they have failed to do so in each of the last four games.

LIVING RIGHT: Twice this season the Titans have survived 3-point field goal tries by opponents at the buzzer that would have turned CSF victories into defeat. And both times it was the opponent's leading scorer -- Ross Mouton at Louisiana-Lafayette and Marvin Lea at Pepperdine -- taking the shot. Ironically, in both games, the Titans led by 18 in the first half -- 29-11 at ULaLa and 30-12 at Pepperdine. Conversely, thanks to Frank Robinson on Saturday, the Titans are 1-0 when they have the last-gasp chance.

CONNECTING FROM LONG DISTANCE: The Titans began the week leading the Big West in 3-pointers made (8.90 pg) and percentage (.394) and they padded those numbers with a season-best .625 performance (10 of 16) vs. UC Davis. They are on a pace to make 258 treys in 655 attempts in a 29-game season. The "makes" would be a school record (current mark is 253 in 2004-05) while the attempts would still fall well shy of the 716 atempted in a 32-game schedule in 2004-05. The Titans set a school record by attempting 33 treys on Jan. 4 vs. Cal State Northridge and tied the single-game mark for makes with 14 at Cal Poly on Dec. 28.

FREE THROW IRREGULARITIES: Free throw shooting has suddenly become a problem for the Titans. After 13 games they were shooting .714 (190 of 266) as a team. In the last seven games they have made only 72 of 137 (.526) despite making their final 13 in a row at Long Beach State. They have shot under 50 percent vs. Northridge, UCR and UC Irvine twice. Three times their 3-point percentage has been better than their free-throw percentage.

RECORDS ARE FALLING: While the 2004-05 team dramatically changed the direction of the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball program, the current edition has found a way to make some history of its own in addition to the best overall and conference records in 24 years. To wit: &\#149; largest margin of victory in a conference game (40 points -- 98-58 vs. UC Riverside on Jan. 13) &\#149; tied largest margin of victory for any game (52 points -- 108-56 vs. California Maritime on Nov. 10) &\#149; most 3-point field goals attempted (33 -- vs. Cal State Northridge on Jan. 4) &\#149; tied record for most 3-point field goals made (14 -- at Cal Poly on Dec. 28) &\#149; most points in a losing effort (110-100 loss at Eastern Washington on Nov. 27) &\#149; individual points in a game (47 -- by Bobby Brown vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 16) &\#149; most 3-point field goals in a game by an individual (11 -- by Bobby Brown vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 16) &\#149; handed Louisiana-Lafayette its first home non-conference loss in four years, ending a 17-game win streak in the Cajundome &\#149; swept season series from UC Irvine for first time since 1998-99 &\#149; second-longest home-court winning streak in school's Div. I history &\#149; posted third consecutive winning season, something not accomplished since 1981-82 thru 1984-85 (4 in a row)