February 6, 2009

Titans Try to Extend 4-Game Winning Streak

Feb. 6, 2009

Fullerton, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Thur., Feb. 12 -- at Pacific, Spanos Center (6,150), 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 14 -- at UC Davis, The Pavilion (7,600), 7 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 18 -- Long Beach State, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: Riding the momentum of a season's best 4-game winning streak and a remarkable second-half comeback against UC Santa Barbara, the Titans (12-10, 6-4) try to complete a season sweep of the Central Coast schools when they host Cal Poly SLO on Saturday night. Fullerton has moved to within half a game of first place in the compacted Big West Conference standings.

CHALK TALK: Associate Head Coach Andy Newman will conduct a chalk talk prior to the Cal Poly game. Admission is free and complimentary appetizers and beverages will be provided. University Village dining hall on the north side of Yorba Linda Blvd. across from Goodwin Field is the site and the time is 4 p.m.

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 Erik Pessalano will call the Cal Poly game. It also can be heard on campus-based Titan Internet Radio with Danny Hauger doing the play-by-play.

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. 23.3 3.4r If he scores 25 points or more, Titans win (10-0)
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 11.1 3.9a Due for a big scoring game if recent pattern holds
G 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 5.7 2.5r Averaging 8 points over last 4 games since starting regularly
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 4.7 3.2r Leads team with .606 field-goal percentage; got 10 points at Long Beach
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 9.7 6.0r Had 11 points, 6 rebounds vs. UC Riverside, 10 & 5 vs. UCSB
OFF THE BENCH:
G 11 Marcio Lassiter* 6-2 Sr. 8.9 2.9r Averaging 4.0 assists over last 5 games
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 3.9 4.6r Second in Big West with 1.55 blocked shots per game
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 7.0 3.4r Against UCSB, hit first 3-pointer (and then another one) since Jan. 3
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 trail Cal Poly in the all-time series, 28-21, but have won the last three meetings including a 86-82 decision in Mott Gym on Jan. 8. Since Cal Poly went to Div. I, the series stands 14-12 in favor of the Mustangs.

ABOUT THE 2008-09 MUSTANGS: Cal Poly (5-14, 2-7) is coming off a 64-57 loss Thursday night at UC Irvine. The Mustangs led at the half by 4 but succumbed to a 16-4 Anteater run to open the second half. Titus Shelton had 16 points and 7 rebounds and Lorenzo Keeler scored 14. Both of Cal Poly's conference wins have come on the road, back-to-back at Pacific and UC Davis.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 104-70 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .598, 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 7-5 vs. Cal Poly and Kevin Bromley, 3-2 in Titan Gym.

FRIENDLY CONFINES????: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 54-21 (.720) in Historic Titan Gym but only 6-3 after a 4-0 start to this season. Fullerton's all-time Div. I Titan Gym record is 279-155 (.643). Fullerton also is 1-8 in regular season home games at the Anaheim Convention Center.

WINNING STREAK: Fullerton's current 4-game winning streak is its longest of the season. Last year's team won four or more in a row three times. It doesn't apply until next week, but Fullerton's current 4-game ROAD winning streak (last loss in OT at UCI on Jan. 3) equals the longest of the Bob Burton Era (at UCSB, at Cal Poly, at Oregon State and at USF in February and March of 2005).

CLOSE TO YOU: In 12 non-conference games, Fullerton had only two games decided by 6 or fewer points -- a 1-point loss at Portland State and 6-point loss to Wake Forest. In only 10 conference games, the margin of victory has been by 7 points or less on seven occasions -- a 1-point win at Long Beach; 4-point wins at Cal Poly, at UCSB and at CSUN; a 6-point win vs. UC Riverside; a 7-point win vs. UCSB and a 4-point loss in OT at UC Irvine.

SECOND-HALF TEAM: Early in the season, the Titans had a problem coming out slowly to begin the second half. Since the beginning of Big West Conference play, that trend has changed. Now they are starting the game slowly and have trailed at the half (by an average of 11 points) in eight of the 10 games including all five home games by an average of 12.8 points. They have come back to win four times (at UCSB, at Long Beach, vs. UCR and vs. UCSB). The season's record when trailing at the half is 4-8 (7-1 when leading at half, 1-1 when tied). Last year's team was 0-6 when trailing at the half but 24-2 when leading and 0-1 when tied.

MISSING LINK: Finding a consistent third 3-point shooter to complement Josh Akognon and Jacques Streeter has been an elusive goal for the Titans. Aaron Thompson didn't made a trey in seven consecutive games (0-for-11) before hitting 2 vs. UCSB. He still is only 4-for-23 in his past 11 games and is at .222 for the season. Marcio Lassiter was 0-for-7 in the last homestand and is up to only .296 for the season after going 7-of-18 in the last four games. Chris Rhymes is 3-for-15 as a starter and 7-for-21 in conference play.

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 (at the time but since twice beaten) the lowest scoring victory in the Bob Burton Era as well as Fullerton's first this season after trailing at the half (by 7). The Titans did better at Long Beach, winning 61-60 after trailing by 8 at the half and then beat UCR, 58-52, after being down 5 at intermission.

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 4.9 per game, the Titans have had some glaring disparities and have given up 14.9 offensive rebounds per game... Four of the six 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, minus 18 (37 vs. 19) in a win at home over Montana State and minus 17 (49 vs. 32) in Thursday's win over UCSB... the only 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; UCSB had 22 and LSU, Central Michigan and UCR each 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.

BACK TO LAS CRUCES: Cal State Fullerton will face former conference foe New Mexico State in the ESPNU Bracket Buster series on Feb. 21 in Las Cruces. The Aggies were in the PCAA/Big West from the 1983-84 through 1999-2000 seasons and hold a 23-7 lead in the series. Fullerton last played in the Pan American Center on Jan. 8, 1998, losing in double overtime, 89-87. The Titans are 2-12 in the13,000-seat Pan Am Center.

NEW PARKING FEE: Effective with Saturday's game vs. Cal Poly SLO, 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.