Unbeaten Matadors Provide Saturday Challenge

Feb. 1, 2008

Northridge, Calif. -

UPCOMING:
Sat., Feb. 2 -- at Cal State Northridge, The Matadome (1,600), 7:05 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 7 -- at UC Santa Barbara, Thunderdome (6,000), 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 9 -- at Cal Poly, Mott Gym (3,032), 7 p.m.

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IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (13-6, 6-2) are the last team in the Big West Conference to get a shot at derailing Cal State Northridge's (15-4, 7-0) surprising unbeaten run through the first half of the league schedule. Fullerton is in second place, two games behind in the loss column. Fullerton has a 7-game winning streak alive against the Matadors and has won four in a row in Northridge, but the last three have been by a combined total of 8 points.

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 will announce the Cal State Northridge contest.

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
F 2 Scott Cutley* 6-5 Sr. 13.4 7.3r 15-for-18 at the foul line after 26-for-52 start
F 34 Marcus Morgan* 6-5 Jr. 5.8 6.2r Career highs of 13 points at Arizona, 11 rebounds at Saint Mary's
G 1 Josh Akognon 6-1 Jr. 21.0 3.1r Moving in on CSF single-season record for 3-point field goals
F 5 Frank Robinson** 6-4 Sr. 15.5 6.8r Made 7 of 8 shots inside the 3-point line at Long Beach State
G 15 Junior Russell 5-6 Jr. 6.3 2.7a Scored 13 of his 16 points vs. UCR in final 5 minutes
OFF THE BENCH:
C 21 Kenneth Alexander* 6-6 Sr. 3.5 2.1r Career-high 17 points off the bench at Southern Utah
G 22 Ray Reed* 5-11 Sr. 4.0 1.0a Made second start of season vs. UC Riverside
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw* 5-10 Jr. 9.8 1.9a Scored 16 points in 20 minutes vs. UC Irvine; 17 in 22 at Long Beach
C 42 Andrew Green* 6-6 Sr. 3.4 2.6r Grabbed 7 rebounds in 20 minutes at UC Riverside
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Jr. 3.7 0.6a Career-high 17 points in career-high 25 minutes vs. UCR; did not play at LB
C 13 Eddie Lima 6-9 Jr. 1.9 1.5r Has played only 8 minutes over last 14 games
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans have a 30-23 advantage over Cal State Northridge thanks to a 7-game winning streak that includes five wins by 5 points or less. The Titans are 5-3 in the currently configured Matadome with a 4-game win streak there.

ABOUT THE MATADORS: The Matadors (15-4, 7-0) have run the Big West table so far including road wins at Cal Poly, UCSB and UCR. Newcomer Deon Tresvant (13.3 ppg) and veteran Calvin Chitwood (11.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.59 blpg) ) are the catalysts. The Matadors began the week leading the Big West in field goal percentage defense (.416), blocked shots (3.63 bpg), steals (9.73 spg) and turnover margin (+3.47).

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 81-57 in his fifth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .587, Burton has again edged ahead of Bobby Dye (109-78, .583) as the winningest coach in Titan history. He is the only Fullerton coach with a winning conference record, currently at 39-33 (.542). Dye was 37-37. Burton is 8-2 vs. CSUN, 4-0 in the Matadome.

THESE 30 ROAD WINS MUCH QUICKER: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past three seasons plus this season to date, they are 34-29 (.540) away from Titan Gym. 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 37-40 (.481).

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 44-17 (.721) in Titan Gym including 7-2 this season.

LIVE AND DIE BY THE THREE: The Titans shoot .421 from behind the 3-point line. In their 13 wins they have shot .461 compared to .328 in the 6 losses. The only loss where they shot above .420 was the Wright State game (.423). They have won only four times when shooting below .420 -- .407 vs. Cal State L.A., .333 vs. Montana, .381 at UC Riverside and .333 vs. UCR.

HEALING MAN CUTLEY: The Titans' returning first-team All-Big West Conference senior forward Scott Cutley returned to the practice floor during Thanksgiving weekend, came off the bench at Arizona and started at Montana, six weeks after suffering a fractured right ankle. Last season he missed only one game despite a broken thumb. He began the week ranked No. 2 in the Big West in rebounding at 7.2 rpg per game, No. 11 in scoring at 13.4 points per game, No. 6 in assists at 3.0 per game, No. 7 in field goal percentage at .484 and No. 3 in minutes played at 32.13 per game. He posted three consecutive double-doubles vs. Central Michigan, Southern Utah and Montana and just missed a triple-double vs. the Thunderbirds. He has scored in double figures in every start except at Saint Mary's (8 points) and vs. UC Riverside (6 points). He is 15-for-20 at the foul line over the last 4 games.

AKOGNON LIKES THE TEMPO: Josh Akognon did not suit up vs. UC Riverside due to a sprained little finger on his right (shooting) hand, suffered late in the previous game at UC Davis, but showed no ill effects Thursday at Long Beach. He is already three-fourths of the way toward breaking the Cal State Fullerton single-season record for 3-point field goals (89 by Don Leary in 1992-93). With 75 treys in 18 games, he is averaging 4.17 per game and if he maintains that pace he would hit No. 90 in game No. 23 on Feb. 14 vs. UC Davis. He has made four or more in a game 12 times with a best of seven on three occasions. He was in a 2-for-20 slump before a 10-for-21 road trip. The Washington State transfer led the Cougars in scoring in 2005-06 and made just under two treys per game while averaging 10.3 points. He began the week the Big West leader in scoring (21.2 ppg), 3-point field goals (4.18 per game) and free-throw percentage (.911 on 51 of 56). At Saint Mary's he grabbed a career-high 9 rebounds. He has scored 30 points or more four times. Only five other Big West players have hit 30.

ROBINSON REBOUNDS: Frank Robinson sat out the Dec. 17 Southern Utah game with an ankle injury but has played consistently well since returning. He needs only 67 more points to become the 18th Titan to score 1,000 points. (Counting his freshman year at East Carolina he already has 1,033 for his total career). He began the week No. 6 in scoring (15.4 ppg) in the Big West Conference and No. 4 in rebounding (6.8). He's had two double-doubles -- at Central Michigan with 15 points and 10 rebounds and vs. UCI with 17 points and 10 rebounds -- and been one rebound shy of three more. In the last two games he was 11-of-13 from inside the 3-point line and only 1-for-9 outside of it.

MORGAN SHINES IN TOUGHEST SPOTS: Marcus Morgan has had his best statistical games against the tougher opponents this season. At Arizona he scored 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while playing solid defense. At Saint Mary's he had another strong defensive game and had 7 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. His biggest play of the year was blocking the potential game-winning layup by Montana's Andrew Strait with one second left in regulation on Dec. 20. He has made 10 of 13 free throws since going 0-for-5 vs. UC Irvine on Jan. 4. He has had double digit rebound totals 3 times.

CRENSHAW SPARK PLUG: Junior guard Marcus Crenshaw, the Big West Conference's Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07, continues to provide an offensive spark off the bench, ranking as the Titans' No. 4 scorer at 9.8 points per game. He started at Montana (and Central Michigan) after 31 consecutive appearances off the bench. He also started his first three games as a Titan in November of 2006 when the roster was short three suspended players. With 130 3-point baskets as a Titan, he has moved into a tie for the No. 7 spot on the Titans' career list. He is 3 makes away from Mark Murphy in sixth but he is still 30 shots away from the top ten in attempts. In the last six home games he is 20-for-37 (.541) from behind the arc compared to 14-for-36 (.389) over the last seven road games.

RUSSELL ERUPTS: Point guard Junior Russell has been a Jekyl-Hyde scorer this season. He has scored 9 or more points 6 times and had 3 or less on nine occasions. Three times he has scored 16 points -- at Central Michigan, vs. Cal Poly and vs. UC Riverside on Jan. 23 when he scored 13 of them in the final five minutes. He had a season-high 5 steals vs. UCSB. He has the best 3-point field goal percentage on the team at .548 (17 of 31). In conference games he is 11-for-17 (.647).

TWO-HEADED POINT GUARD: The Titans have replaced departed point guard Bobby Brown (starring in Germany) with the tandem of Junior Russell and Marcus Crenshaw. The righthanded Russell usually starts but southpaw Crenshaw has played more minutes (21.2 to 20.1 mpg). Russell has 51 assists to 36 for Crenshaw. Combined, they are averaging 16.1 points and 4.6 assists, not far off Brown's senior year numbers of 20.2 ppg and 5.1 apg.

MARCIO = OFFENSE: Like Marcus Crenshaw, Marcio Lassiter has provided an offensive spark off the bench. The transfer from San Francisco City College scored 9 points in 11 minutes at Montana, 8 points in 19 minutes vs. Montana and 11 points in 10 minutes vs. Furman. He got a season-high 17 points in a season-high 25 minutes vs. UCR in the absence of Josh Akognon, making 5-of-9 shots, 3-of-6 from the arc.

TOUGH FIELD: Cal State Fullerton will represent the Big West Conference in the 2008 Anaheim Classic on Thanksgiving Weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. The ESPN-televised tourney will feature an even stronger field than the inaugural event of 2007 with Wake Forest, Arkansas, Providence, Arizona State, UTEP, Baylor and UNC-Charlotte signed to join the Titans.

30-POINT VICTORIES: The Titans have won three games by 30 or more points (Southern Utah, Furman and at UC Riverside) this season and nine (one on the road) in Coach Bob Burton's four-plus year tenure. By comparison, predecessors Donny Daniels had one 30-or-more-point win in three seasons, Bob Hawking had four (one on the road) in six seasons, Brad Holland had none in two seasons, John Sneed had one in four seasons, George McQuarn had 10 (one on the road) in eight seasons and Bobby Dye had seven (two on the road) in six seasons. The list of road Div. I era 30-point wins: 101-69 at Cal State Bakersfield on 1/3/76; 87-56 at Cal State Northridge on 11/27/76; 90-60 at Hawaii on 11/27/83; 89-57 at UC Irvine on 1/25/97; and 77-47 at UC Riverside on 1/7/08.

FALL SIGNEES: The Titans signed two incoming players during the November signing period -- Aaron Thompson, a 6-4, 205-pound junior wing from Cerritos College and previously of Washington High School in L.A.; and Jacques Streeter, a 6-foot, 175-pound point guard at Finley Prep School in Las Vegas and previously at Fremont High School in L.A.