February 16, 2007

Red-Hot Wright State Hosts Titans

Feb. 16, 2007

Dayton, Ohio -

UPCOMING:
Sat., Feb. 17 -- at Wright State, Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio
-- O¹Reilly ESPNU Bracket Buster, 8 p.m. EST on ESPN360 & Sirius Radio 130
Thur., Feb. 22 -- UC Santa Barbara, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m. -- KVMD - TV
Sat., Feb. 24 -- Cal Poly SLO, Titan Gym, 1:05 p.m. -- FSN Prime Ticket TV -- (note time change to accommodate TV coverage)

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IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (18-6, 8-4) travels further than any team in the ESPN package of 14 games in the O¹Reilly ESPNU Bracket Buster, visiting Wright State (20-8, 13-2), the first-place team of the Horizon League, in Dayton, Ohio. It¹s the first appearance in the state for a Cal State Fullerton men¹s basketball team, which seldom has played east of the Mississippi River. (Football team played at Akron in 1990 and baseball team won a 1999 Super Regional at The Ohio State). The Titans are coming off a 94-84 loss to Long Beach State which virtually eliminates them from the No. 1 seed in the post-season tournament and snapped their 15-game home-court winning streak. Fullerton remains in second place in the Big West, one game ahead of UC Santa Barbara. Fullerton has not lost consecutive games this season.

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 Wright State 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. 11.0 7.0r Third in the Big West in rebounding and second in double-doubles with six
F 2 Scott Cutley 6-5 Jr. 16.4 9.3r Leads Big West in rebounding; fourth in scoring and fifth in FG percentage
G 3 Bobby Brown*** 6-2 Sr. 20.1 5.4a CSF¹s No. 2 career scorer trails L.Wood by 38 points; finalist for Cousy Award
G 22 Ray Reed 5-11 Jr. 8.5 3.3a Averaging only 4.4 points over last 8 games
G 0 Frank Robinson* 6-4 Jr. 12.4 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. 11.3 2.4a Definite candidate for ³sixth man of year² award; averages 0.513 pts. per minute
C 42 Andrew Green 6-6 Jr. 4.0 3.0r Had 8 points in 12 minutes vs. UC Riverside; 6 points, 6 boards at UC Irvine
F 43 Chris Minardo 6-10 So. 3.9 2.0r Had 5 points, 4 rebounds in 11 quality minutes at Pepperdine
F 34 Marcus Morgan 6-5 Jr. 1.7 2.7r Played 26 minutes last week with 5 points and 8 rebounds
F 21 Kenneth Alexander 6-6 Jr. 3.5 3.2r Key reserve at Pacific with 7 points, 5 rebounds in 19 minutes
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: Wright State and Cal State Fullerton never have met in men¹s basketball and probably not in any other sport, either. In fact, the only Ohio school the Titans have played in men¹s basketball was Ohio U. (W, 71-49) at the Connecticut-Mutual Classic in Hartford on Dec. 29, 1979. The only other connections we can find is center Lloyd Walls, who played at Wright State (22 games in 2002-03) and transferred to Fullerton, where he sat out the 2003-04 season and then missed his senior year due to concussions. And former Wright State baseball Coach Ron Nischwitz was the NCAA representative at a recent NCAA Baseball Regional at Cal State Fullerton.

ABOUT THE TITANS: The Titans have clinched their third consecutive winning season, something that hadn¹t been done in Fullerton since Coach George McQuarn posted four winning records between 1981-82 and 1984-85. They have totaled as many as 18 victories for only the fifth time in the school¹s 33-year Div. I history. Only three teams (23-9 in 1977-78; 21-8 in 1982-83; and 21-11 in 2004-05) have won more than 18. The loss at UCR on Feb. 3 put a major damper on a week that saw the Titans earn the Big West¹s only ESPN date in the O¹Reilly ESPNU Bracket Buster series, gain two 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 nation¹s top point guard. The Titans feature three returning ³regulars² in seniors Bobby Brown at point guard and Justin Burns at center and junior guard Frank Robinson, who was the Big West Conference¹s ³sixth-man² 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. At 84.0 points per game, the Titans ranked No. 4 in the nation in scoring (thru games of Feb. 11). The Titans were ranked No. 15 in the Feb. 12 CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 with Long Beach State at No. 18.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 66-47 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .584, he has the best winning percentage of any Titans¹ head coach, having edged ahead of 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 3-5 vs. Long Beach, 2-1 in Titan Gym.

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 27-22 (.551) away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115 (.207). Burton¹s total CSF road record is 30-33 (.476).

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 36-14 (.720) in Titan Gym and had a 15-game winning streak until Wednesday night¹s loss to Long Beach State. They are 11-1 this season. In Big West play they are 4-1 at home, where they were only 2-5 last year.

HOME-COURT WIN STREAKS: This was Fullerton¹s 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 - Feb. 11, 2006, thru Jan. 27, 2007; ended on Feb. 14, 2007 in a 94-84 loss to Long Beach State 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: Fullerton¹s 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 overall Titan Gym record at the Div. I level (since 1974-75) is .637 (260-148).

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).

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 nation¹s 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 nation¹s top point guard and is on CollegeInsider.com¹s 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 39 more points to become the Titans¹ 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. On Feb. 8 at Pacific, Bobby moved into the No. 3 spot alone on the Big West Conference career 3-pointer list and currently is at 296. The record is 311 by Pacific¹s Adam Jacobsen in 1994-98 and second is Cal Poly¹s Mike Wozniak at 308.

AND MORE: Brown had been in a mild shooting slump, making only 38-of-101 field goals (.376) including 16-of-46 treys (.348) over the 7 games prior to Wednesday night, when he had a career second-best 36 points on 13-for-24 shooting and 6-for-13 from behind the arc. He began the week ranked among the Big West leaders in every category except rebounding and blocked shots. He was No. 1 in assists (5.45 apg), No. 1 in 3-point field goals (3.15 per game), No. 2 in scoring (19.4 ppg), No. 3 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.60), No. 9 in steals (1.35 per game), No. 2 in minutes played (34.15 per game), No. 8 in 3-point field goal percentage (.426), No. 8 in free-throw percentage (.769) and No. 10 in field goal percentage (.471). At Cal State Northridge last Saturday night he scored the team¹s final 8 points including 6-of-6 at the foul line in the final 1:42 to hold off the Matadors, who had erased a 15-point Fullerton lead.

Frank Robinson: The junior swingman has quietly moved up to No. 9 in scoring in Big West Conference games only, averaging 13.3 points per game going into this week. He had consecutive games of 18, 18 and 19 before netting only 7 at Cal State Northridge and then coming back with 19 vs. Long Beach State. He has been hampered the past two weeks by a hamstring problem. He had his first game-winning shot as a Titan on Jan. 20 when he drilled a 3-pointer with one second remaining for a 71-68 victory at UC Irvine. 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 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 Feb. 3 but has managed only 22 points and 10 rebounds in the last three games combined. 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 ranks No. 3 in the Big West in rebounding at 7.1 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 14-for-37 (.378) at the foul line but was 2-for-2 at Northridge.

Scott Cutley: Junior forward from Kent State seems impervious to injury. He has been playing since mid-December with a fractured left thumb and he needed x-rays Tuesday after injuring his lower left leg, yet he played 37 minutes vs. Long Beach State with a nother double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds), his conference-high ninth of the sseason. He earned Big West player of the week honors for his play in the home wins over UC Davis and UC Irvine in late January, making 20 of 27 shots including 6 of 9 3-pointers while averaging 26.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. He began the week ranked No. 1 in the Big West in rebounding at 9.2 per game, No. 4 in scoring at 16.5 ppg and No. 5 in field goal percentage at .521. In the last 10 games he is 13-for-27 (.481) from the 3-point line (after starting the year 2-for-13) but is 0-for-5 in the last 4 games.

RAY REED: Georgetown transfer Ray Reed began the week leading the Titans and the Big West Conference in steals (1.91) and was second on the team and fifth 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 40-for-83 (.482) over the last 16 games despite a 2-for-10 effort in the last 3 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 Conference¹s ³sixth man² award. Since starting the first 3 games in a roster shortage and averaging 18 points, he has come off the bench to average 10.3 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 and then hit two huge treys at CSUN, the second putting Fullerton ahead to stay. He began the week second on the team and in the Big West in 3-point field goals made at 2.78 per game and matched his season high with 5 (in 8 tries) at Pacific. His .424 percentage was No. 9 in the conference. 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 57 assists is No. 4 on the team. He has scored 0.513 points per minute played, second best on team to Bobby Brown¹s 0.587.

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 eight 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 opponent¹s 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. And at Cal State Northridge on Saturday night, Rob Haynes made a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds to go that would have tied the game had a foul not been called before the shot.

LONG DISTANCE DIALING DECISIVE: The Titans began the week second in the Big West behind Cal Poly in 3-pointers made (8.61 pg) and percentage (.384) and they are on a pace to make 248 treys in 650 attempts in a 29-game season. The ³makes² 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 and 8-for-23 vs. Long Beach State and 2-for-16 at UC Riverside.

FREE THROWS: Free throw shooting had become a problem for the Titans until the last two games. After 13 games they were shooting .714 (190 of 266). In the next 9 games they made only 101 of 190 (.532) but in the last two games are 34-for-45 (.756). They have shot under 50 percent vs. CSUN, UCR, UCI (twice) and Pacific. 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 men¹s 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:  posted third consecutive winning season, something not accomplished since 1981-82 thru 1984-85 (4 in a row)  second-longest home-court winning streak in school¹s Div. I history  swept season series from Pacific for the first time since 1988-89 and UC Irvine for first time since 1998-99  largest margin of victory in a conference game (40 points -- 98-58 vs. UC Riverside on Jan. 13)  tied largest margin of victory for any game (52 points -- 108-56 vs. California Maritime on Nov. 10)  most 3-point field goals attempted (33 -- vs. Cal State Northridge on Jan. 4)  tied record for most 3-point field goals made (14 -- at Cal Poly on Dec. 28)  most points in a losing effort (110-100 loss at Eastern Washington on Nov. 27)  individual points in a game (47 -- by Bobby Brown vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 16)  most 3-point field goals in a game by an individual (11 -- by Bobby Brown vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 16)  handed Louisiana-Lafayette its first home non-conference loss in four years, ending a 17-game win streak in the Cajundome  earned first video coverage in the 5-year-old O¹Reilly ESPNU Bracket Buster series  swept the Stockton-Northridge road trip for the first time (started in 2001-02)