Titans Seek End to Losing Streak

March 2, 2009

Bakersfield, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Tues., March 3 -- at Cal State Bakersfield, Rabobank Arena (10,000), 7 p.m.
Sat., March 7 -- UC Irvine, Titan Gym (4,000), 6:05 p.m. - HOMECOMING GAME - FSN West TV - Mayors Challenge
Wed., March 11 -- at Big West Conference Tournament, Anaheim Convention Center (7,500), tba

IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (13-15, 7-8) wrap up the regular season with a non-conference game at Cal State Bakersfield and a home finale vs. UC Irvine. A first-round bye in the post-season tournament the following week is still a possibility but the Titans must beat Irvine and get some help from favorable results of other remaining games. Last year, the Titans captured victories at Bakersfield and at Irvine in the final week of the season which springboarded them into a tournament championship.

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 Pessolano will call the Cal State Bakersfield 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
G 1 Josh Akognon 6-1 Sr. 23.5 3.3r Second in nation in 3-pt FGs at 4.14 per game; has at least 1 in last 40 games
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 10.4 4.2a Had 10 points, 7 assists at New Mexico State
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 7.9 3.6r Averaging 15.3 points over last four games after 3.3 mark over previous 10
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 3.8 4.3r Second in Big West with 1.46 blocked shots; season-high 10 pts. vs. Long Beach
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 9.4 5.8r Missed half of UC Riverside game due to concussion
OFF THE BENCH:
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Sr. 9.2 2.8r Exploded for 15 second-half points at UC Davis; career high for a game is 17
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 4.9 3.4r Matched career high with 12 points vs. Cal Poly; leads team with .644 FG%
G 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 4.7 2.2r Started six of the last 11 games
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 1.0 0.9a Erupted for season-high 10 points at Pacific on Feb. 12
F 5 Regan Andersen 6-7 Jr. 1.6 1.5r Well-traveled Milwaukee native; walk-on transfer from Oxnard College
G 44 Kwasi Mensah 6-3 Fr. 0.0 0.2r Walk-on from Rancho Cucamonga HS
DISABLED LIST:
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 0.8 0.8r 4 points on 2-for-2 shooting at Montana State; out due to ankle injury

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 lead the Roadrunners in the all-time series, 8-2, and 3-0 since CSUB's move to Div. I. Fullerton swept a pair of games last year -- by 17 at home and by 4 in Bakersfield -- and won this season, 87-64, on Dec. 13 in Titan Gym as Fullerton shot 74 percent in the first half including 21 points by Josh Akognon, who finished with 41. Terrance Johns led CSUB with 18 points.

ABOUT THE ROADRUNNERS: Cal State Bakersfield concludes its season Tuesday night. It has an 8-20 record with a 2-game winning streak at Utah Valley and at Cal Poly SLO, the latter by a 57-52 count on Wednesday night. Trent Blakley is the top scorer at 13.4 points per game and Santwon Latunde is next at 10.9 ppg. The latter is the top rebounder at 7.6 rpg. CSUB is 3-6 vs. the Big West, sweeping Cal Poly and beating first-place Cal State Northridge back in November.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 105-75 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .5833, Burton is the winningest coach in Titan history but a loss would knock him back to No. 2. Bobby Dye is second in winning percentage at .5828 (109-78). 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) and then Dye. Burton is 3-0 vs. Cal State Bakersfield and Coach Keith Brown.

ROAD WARRIORS: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past four seasons plus this year (7-10) , they are 48-41 (.539) away from Titan Gym (includes 10-9 on neutral floors). 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 51-52 (.495).

FRIENDLY CONFINES?: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 54-23 (.701) in Historic Titan Gym but only 6-5 this season and only 2-5 in Big West home games. Fullerton's all-time Div. I Titan Gym record is 279-157 (.640). Fullerton also is 1-8 in regular season home games at the Anaheim Convention Center.

CLOSE TO YOU: In 13 non-conference games, Fullerton had only two games decided by 6 or fewer points -- a 1-point loss at Portland State and a 6-point loss to Wake Forest. In 15 conference games, the margin of victory has been by 7 points or less on 10 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, a 4-point loss in OT at UC Irvine, a 3-point loss vs. Cal Poly, a 1-point home loss to Long Beach State and a 3-point road loss at UCR.

SECOND-HALF TEAM: Early in the season, the Titans had a problem coming out slowly to begin the second half. In Big West Conference play, that trend changed. Now they are starting the game slowly and have trailed at the half (by an average of 10 points) in 12 of the 15 games (exceptions: +3 at Cal Poly, +10 at CSUN, +1 at Davis) including all seven home games by an average of 10.0 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 4-12 (8-2 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. See chart on later page.

BIG COMEBACKS: Fullerton has fashioned some remarkable comebacks this season. Against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 5, the Titans trailed by 19 points at the half and were down, 47-25 with 17:30 to play. But they finished the game with a 47-18 run to win, 72-65. At UCSB on Jan. 10 they trailed by 13 with 4:30 to go in the first half but caught up 6 minutes into the second half and went on to win, 62-58. At UC Davis on Feb. 14 they went from a 28-15 deficit with 9 minutes to go in the first half to a 69-56 lead at 12:05 of the second half, a 54-28 run over less than 17 minutes. At Long Beach on Jan. 29 they were down, 39-26, with 17:30 to play and came back to win, 61-60, finishing the game with a 35-21 run. Even in defeat -- vs. Cal Poly on Feb. 7, they went from a 31-20 deficit with 4:45 to go in the first half to a 53-43 lead with 12:38 to play, a 33-12 run over a little more than 12 minutes; and vs. Long Beach State on Feb. 18 they went from a 35-23 deficit at 2:32 of the first half to 6 up at 58-52 at 9:13 of the second half for a 35-17 run over 13 minutes.

LOSING BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Not surprisingly, given the heights on the roster, rebounding has been a problem for the Titans in 2008-09, particularly at the defensive end... In Big West Conference games, the Titans have outrebounded their opponent only twice -- 38-36 at Long Beach State and 36-34 at UC Davis... Although outrebounded by only about 5.0 per game, the Titans have had some glaring disparities and have given up 14.1 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.

JUMBLED STANDINGS: Although the Big West Conference standings reflect great parity, it will take some doing to match the closeness of the 1975-76 race in the Big West's previous incarnation as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. The 6-team standings that season ended up with Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State as co-champions at 6-4 followed by San Jose State and San Diego State, each at 5-5, and Fresno State and Pacific, each at 4-6.

NEXT YEAR'S SCHEDULE: Fullerton's tentative 2009-10 men's basketball schedule currently includes tournaments in Logan, Utah, and Nacogdoches, Texas, and an ESPNU Bracket Buster rematch at home vs. New Mexico State. A "guarantee" game or two also will be added.