February 6, 2007

Final Road Trip Takes Titans to UoP, CSUN

Feb. 6, 2007

Stockton, Calif. -

UPCOMING:
Thur., Feb. 8 -- at Pacific, 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 10 -- at Cal State Northridge, 7:05 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 14 -- Long Beach State, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m.

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IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (16-5, 6-3) plays its final two road Big West Conference games this week, trying to bounce back from a damaging loss at UC Riverside that knocked it out of first place. The Titans fell from No. 13 last week to No. 17 in the current CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. The Titans continue to rank No. 4 in the nation in scoring at 84.6 points per game despite poor shooting of late from the 3-point line and the free-throw line.

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. Mel Franks will be the announcer for the Pacific and CSUN games.

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:
Pos. No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg r/apg Quick Notes
C 5 Justin Burns** 6-7 Sr. 11.5 7.5r Third in the Big West in rebounding and second in double-doubles with six
F 2 Scott Cutley 6-5 Jr. 16.8 9.4r Leads Big West in rebounding; fourth in scoring and third in FG percentage
G 3 Bobby Brown*** 6-2 Sr. 19.4 5.5a CSF's No. 2 career scorer trails Wood by 111 points; finalist for Cousy Award
G 22 Ray Reed 5-11 Jr. 9.5 3.4a Also averaging 3.4 rebounds
G 0 Frank Robinson* 6-4 Jr. 11.9 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. 11.5 2.5a Definite candidate for "sixth man of year" award; averages 0.52 pts. per minute
C 42 Andrew Green 6-6 Jr. 4.2 3.2r 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. 1.6 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 HISTORIES: Fullerton snapped a 6-game losing streak to Pacific with a 76-70 win in Titan Gym on Jan. 6, but still trails the all-time series, 41-30, and is 7-18 in the Spanos Center, where it has lost 3 in a row and 16 of the last 17 meetings. Fullerton has beaten Cal State Northridge 6 times in a row to take a 29-23 lead in that series. The Titans beat the Matadors, 76-72, in Titan Gym on Jan. 4 and have won their last three meetings in Northridge.

ABOUT THE TIGERS: Pacific (8-13, 4-4) is 4-4 at home and 2-2 at home in Big West play. The Tigers are led by sophomore forward Anthony Brown at 15.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Steffan Johnson also is in double figures at 10.3 ppg.

ABOUT THE MATADORS: Cal State Northridge (10-12, 3-6) is 7-3 at home. The Matadors host UC Riverside on Thursday night. They are led in scoring by Jonathan Heard (14.8 ppg) and Calvin Chitwood (12.7 ppg). They lead the Big West in rebounding margin at plus 6.0.

ABOUT THE TITANS: The Titans have 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. The loss at UCR on Saturday put a major damper on a week that saw the Titans earn the Big West's only TV date in the O'Reilly ESPNU Bracket Buster series, gain two more home television dates (Feb. 22 and Feb. 24) on the strength of their 16-4, 6-2 start (which matched the best in school history) and see Bobby Brown gain the 13-man field of Div. I finalists for the Bob Cousy Award to the nation's top point guard. 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 64-46 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .582, he has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). The recent 5-game winning streak matched a similar one in 2004-05 for the best of the Burton Era. He is 1-6 vs. Pacific (0-3 in Stockton) and 7-2 vs. CSUN (3-0 in Northridge).

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 25-22 (.532) away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115 (.207). Burton's total CSF road record is 28-33 (.459).

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).

SECOND BEST CONFERENCE START: Even after the loss at UC Riverside, the Titans are off to their second best (tied) start in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association and/or the Big West Conference at 6-3. This is the fifth team to go 6-2 (1975-76, 1977-78, 1978-79 and 1982-83) but only the 1982-83 team won is ninth game to go to 7-2. That team went to 8-2. CSF has been 7-3 only in 1976-77, 1981-82 and 1984-85.

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 is one of 13 Div. I finalists 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 112 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) on Jan. 18 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 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. Bobby needs one more 3-point field goal to 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. But he has gone 0-for-9 from behind the arc in the last two games, snapping a string of 20 consecutive games with at least one trey.

AND MORE: Brown has been in a shooting slump, making only 27-of-74 field goals (.365) over the last 5 games and 0-for-9 from 3-point range in the last two, but still he begins this week among the Big West leaders in every category except rebounding and blocked shots. He is No. 1 in assists (5.50 apg), No. 1 in 3-point field goals (3.11 per game), No. 2 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.65), No. 2 in scoring (19.4 ppg), No. 5 in steals (1.39 per game), No. 3 in minutes played (34.11 per game), No. 6 in 3-point field goal percentage (.431), No. 9 in free-throw percentage (.754) and No. 10 in field goal percentage (.478). 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 on Jan. 27 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 tenth in scoring in Big West games only at 13.3 ppg. 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: Posted his 11th career double-double and sixth this year with 14 points and 13 rebounds at UC Riverside on Saturday. He had a brilliant game vs. UCR 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 7.5 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. Since making 11-of-15 free throws in the first two Big West games at Cal Poly and UCSB, he is only 10-for-31 (.323) at the foul line.

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 202 (16.8 ppg) points and 113 (9.4 rpg) rebounds in the last 12 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 16.8 ppg. In the last nine games he is 13-for-23 (.565) from the 3-point line after starting the year 2-for-13. He leads the Big West in double-doubles with eight (tied for eighth on the Titans' single-season list).

RAY REED: Georgetown transfer Ray Reed leads the Titans and began the week leading the Big West Conference in steals (2.00) and is second on the team and sixth in the conference in assists (3.43). 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 38-for-73 (.521) over the last 13 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 10.4 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 on Jan. 13 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 2.67 per game. His .409 percentage was No. 10 in the conference to start the week. He is on pace to make 77 in a 29-game schedule which would be the third-best single-season total in CSF history. His total of 52 assists is No. 3 on the team. He has scored 0.519 points per minute played, second best on team to Bobby Brown's 0.570.

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 five games. In the three road games in those last five, they have fallen behind by 8 or more points in the first half.

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 Jan. 20 at UC Irvine, the Titans are 1-0 when they have the last-gasp chance.

LONG DISTANCE DIALING DECISIVE: The Titans began the week leading the Big West in 3-pointers made (8.57 pg) and percentage (.385) and they are on a pace to make 248 treys in 646 attempts in a 29-game season. The "makes" would challenge the 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. Yet poor 3-point field goal shooting has been critical in all of their losses, particularly the Big West defeats -- 5-for-20 at UCSB, 6-for-23 at Long Beach State and 2-for-16 at UC Riverside.

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 eight games they have made only 90 of 167 (.539) 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 start in 24 years. To wit:
&\#149; posted third consecutive winning season, something not accomplished since 1981-82 thru 1984-85 (4 in a row)
&\#149; second-longest home-court winning streak in school's Div. I history
&\#149; swept season series from UC Irvine for first time since 1998-99
&\#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; earned first TV coverage in O'Reilly ESPNU Bracket Buster series