Holding Onto Second Place New Goal

Feb. 29, 2008

Fullerton, Calif. -
UPCOMING:
Sat., Mar. 1 -- Long Beach State, Titan Gym (4,000), 6:05 p.m.
Tues., Mar. 4 -- at Cal State Bakersfield, Rabobank Arena (10,000), 7 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 8 -- at UC Irvine, Bren Center (5,000), 7:05 p.m. - Sirius Radio

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IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (18-8, 10-4) must bounce back from a disappointing first-place showdown loss to Cal State Northridge to try to hold onto second place in the Big West standings. It will be the final home game for six seniors.

ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR: This is only the sixth time at the Div. I level that Fullerton has won as many as 18 games in a season (also twice at Div. II). Fullerton has posted four consecutive winning seasons for the first time since George McQuarn's teams did it in 1981-82 thru 1984-85.

WITHIN REACH: Fullerton never has won a conference basketball championship outright, boasting only a co-title in 1976. Only twice has a Fullerton Div. I team finished with single-digit losses -- 23-9 in 1977-78 and 21-8 in 1982-83. Only the 1982-83 team (21-6) won 20 games in the regular season.

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 call the Long Beach State game.

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. 14.0 7.4r Among Big West Top 10 in scoring, rebounds, assists and FG percentage
F 34 Marcus Morgan* 6-5 Jr. 6.1 6.1r Matched career high with 13 points vs. UoP; had 11 rebounds at Saint Mary's
G 1 Josh Akognon 6-1 Jr. 19.9 3.4r String of 37 consecutive free throws ended vs. CSUN; set season trey record
G 22 Ray Reed* 5-11 Sr. 5.7 2.1a Averaging 12.5 points and 5.5 assists last 4 games; made 30 of last 52 FGAs
F 5 Frank Robinson** 6-4 Sr. 16.4 7.1r Only 18th Titan to score 1,000 points; needs 11 rebounds to be tenth w/500

OFF THE BENCH:
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw* 5-10 Jr. 9.8 2.2a Playing with mask since fracturing his nose at Cal Poly on Feb. 9
C 21 Kenneth Alexander* 6-6 Sr. 3.3 2.3r Career-high 17 pts. off the bench at Southern Utah; solid 15 minutes at CSUN
C 42 Andrew Green* 6-6 Sr. 3.2 2.6r Grabbed 7 rebounds in 20 minutes at UC Riverside
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Jr. 3.1 0.5a Career-high 17 points in career-high 25 minutes vs. UCR
C 13 Eddie Lima 6-9 Jr. 1.7 1.3r Has played only 10 minutes over last 21 games

SUSPENDED:
G 15 Junior Russell 5-6 Jr. 6.1 2.6a Suspended indefinitely on Feb. 6 for violation of team rules
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans have played Long Beach State more times than any opponent and they trail the series, 57-37. Fullerton snapped a 6-game losing streak to the 49ers with a 91-75 win on Jan. 31 in Long Beach. Frank Robinson is the only Titan player to have been on a Titan team that beat Long Beach State in Titan Gym.

ABOUT THE 49ers: Long Beach State (6-21, 3-10) features the leading scorer in the Big West in Donovan Morris, averaging 21.0 ppg. No other 49er player averages more than 7.4 points. Morris also is the leading rebounder at 5.3 rpg. The 49ers took UC Irvine to the final minute on Thursday night but lost their fourth game in a row, 64-57.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 86-59 in his fifth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .593, Burton has moved 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 43-35 (.551). Dye was 37-37. Burton is 4-6 vs. Long Beach State (2-2 in Titan Gym), 1-0 vs. Dan Monson (0-0 in Titan Gym).

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 47-18 (.723) in Titan Gym including 10-3 this season.

NATIONAL STATISTICS: Through games of Feb. 24, Josh Akognon was No. 2 in the nation in free-throw percentage at .938 (No. 1 was Louis Dale of Cornell at .944 -- 85 of 90). Akognon ranked No. 13 in 3-point field goals made per game (3.67) and the Titans as a team ranked No. 14 at 9.3. Marcus Crenshaw was ranked No. 20 in 3-point FG percentage at .438. The Titans were No. 5 in team scoring at 83.3 ppg.

CUTLEY FOR MVP: Senior forward Scott Cutley is arguably the most indispensable Titan. A back injury which occurred at UCSB on Feb. 7 and was aggravated in practice last week has limited his mobility the last two games (9.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg). He was selected Big West Conference Player of the Week for his role a week ago in wins over UC Davis and Pacific. He averaged 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals while shooting 70 percent from the floor including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. His 24 points vs. UoP were a season high and his 5 steals were a career high. His season almost ended before it started. He fractured his ankle on the second day of practice (Oct. 13) but returned to the practice floor six weeks later during Thanksgiving weekend, missing 3 games before coming off the bench at Arizona. Last season he missed only one game despite a broken thumb. He currently is ranked No. 2 in the Big West in rebounding at 7.4 rpg per game, No. 9 in scoring at 14.0 points per game, No. 7 in assists at 2.74 per game, No. 3 in field goal percentage at .508 and No. 4 in minutes played at 32.61 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 is 31-for-45 (.689) at the foul line over the last 11 games. Prior to that he was 26-for-53 (.491). He is 44-of-75 (.587) from the floor in the last 7 games.

AKOGNON LIKES THE TEMPO: Josh Akognon entered the CSF record book twice on Thursday despite a sub-par shooting night. His second 3-pointer of the game was No. 90 to break Cal State Fullerton's single-season record of 89 by Don Leary in 1992-93. (He is 6 attempts shy of Bobby Brown's CSF mark of 244 in 2004-05). By making two first-half free throws he ran his streak to 37 consecutive makes to tie Kevin Henderson's record set in 1985-86. But he missed his only try of the second half to avoid setting a new standard. Akognon has made four or more treys in a game 14 times with a best of seven on three occasions. 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 is the Big West leader in free-throw percentage (.928 on 77 of 83) and he is the No. 3 scorer at 19.9 ppg. At Saint Mary's he grabbed a career-high 9 rebounds and he had 7 at Northridge on Feb. 2 and at Cal Poly on Feb. 9. He had a season high of 6 steals vs. UC Davis on Feb. 14 and matched his career high with 6 assists vs. Portland State on Feb. 23. He has scored 30 or more points four times.

ROBINSON HITS 1,000: Frank Robinson became the 18th Titan to score 1,000 career points late in the first half vs. UC Davis on Feb. 14 and now has 1,064 to rank 15th. Next ahead is Pape Sow at 1,135. With 11 more rebounds he will become only the tenth Titan to hit 500. Robinson was selected Big West player of the week on Feb. 4. With 132 3-pointers he is No. 8 on the Titans' career list. Mark Murphy is No. 7 at 133. Since sitting out the Dec. 17 Southern Utah game with an ankle injury, Robinson has played consistently well. He ranks No. 4 in scoring (16.4 ppg) and No. 4 in rebounding (7.1 rpg) in the Big West Conference. He's No. 9 in field goal percentage at .459 and No. 10 in treys made per game at 1.80. He's had five double-doubles -- at Central Michigan with 15 points and 10 rebounds; vs. UCI with 17 points and 10 rebounds; at CSUN with 14 points and 10 boards and two back-to-back with 20 points and 11 boards vs. Portland State and 17 points and 10 boards vs. CSUN. He has been one rebound shy of three more.

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. Against Pacific on Feb. 16 he matched his career high with 13 points (5 of 6 shooting) and had four offensvie 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 18 of 26 (.692) free throws since going 0-for-5 vs. UC Irvine on Jan. 4. He has had double-digit rebound totals 3 times.

CRENSHAW's ROLE CHANGING DAILY: Junior guard Marcus Crenshaw had surgery last week to repair his broken nose but returned to score 6 points against CSUN. The Big West Conference's Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07 continued to provide an offensive spark off the bench before being thrust into the starting lineup on Feb. 7 due to the suspension of Junior Russell. At UCSB on Feb. 7 he matched his career high with 23 points -- 21 in the second half -- and had 9 early in the second half at Cal Poly when he was hit in the nose and suffered a concussion which sidelined him for the balance of the game. He came off the bench again vs. UC Davis and scored 9 points and had 6 vs. Pacific, all while wearing a protective mask. He ranks as the Titans' No. 4 scorer at 9.8 points per game. He earlier 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 143 3-point baskets as a Titan, he has moved into the No. 5 spot on the Titans' career list. At No. 4 is Mark Hill (1988-90) with 145. In Big West games, Crenshaw is 14-for-31 (.452) at home shooting treys and 18-for-44 (.409) on the road.

REED STEPS UP: Senior guard Ray Reed has stepped up his play since getting his first start on Jan. 23 in Josh Akognon's absence. He is averaging 9.6 points over the last nine games while shooting .577 (30-for-52) from the floor. He had a season-best 18 points plus 2 assists vs. CSUN after a 14-point, 5-assist effort against Portland State. As a starter against UC Davis on Feb. 14 he had 10 points and 6 assists and fueled a 10-0 run which put Fullerton ahead by 12 midway through the second half. Against Pacific on Feb. 16 he had 8 points and 9 assists to tie his career high and fueled a critical 12-0 first-half run. His 6-for-7 effort at the line at Cal Poly was a Titan career best. He went 10-for-15 vs. CSUN on Thursday night.

RUSSELL SUSPENDED: Point guard Junior Russell was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 6 for a violation of team rules. He has been a Jekyl-Hyde scorer this season. He has scored 9 or more points 6 times and had 3 or less on 10 occasions. Three times he 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 .531 (17 of 32). In conference games he is 11-for-18 (.611).

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.

LET'S GET PHYSICAL: The Titans have lost two Big West Conference games at home in similar fashion. Against both UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge they were fouled extensively -- UCSB committed 20 fouls and CSUN committed 24. The result was a lot of free throw opportunities -- 25-of-31 vs. UCSB and 25-of-37 (season high attempts) vs. CSUN -- but also two of the worst 3-point shooting nights of the season for Fullerton -- 5 of 22 (.227) vs. UCSB and 3 of 22 (.136) vs. CSUN. The only other time Fullerton shot less than .200 behind the arc was at Northridge -- 4-of-24 (.167) when they shot 24-of-30 free throws in a winning effort (CSUN made only 7 of 25 treys). The only other game with more than 30 free throw attempts was in another physical game -- at Central Michigan -- when they made only 6 of 21 (.286) treys in another defeat.

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.