Regular Season Finale at UC Irvine Looms Large
March 6, 2008
Fullerton, Calif. -
Sat., Mar. 8 -- at UC Irvine, Bren Center (5,000), 7:05 p.m. - Sirius Radio
Wed., Mar. 12 -- at Big West Conference Tournament, Anaheim Convention Center Arena (7,734), tba
IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (20-8, 11-4) can finish anywhere from first to fourth place in the Big West Conference standings and seedings. They will try to ruin UC Irvine's unbeaten home record and secure either a championship, co-championship, tri-championship or second place pending the outcome of other games. A victory also would tie the school record for regular-season wins (21-6 in 1982-83). With a loss, they could fall into a tie for third place or a three-way tie for second and, either way, end up with the No. 4 seed in the tournament.
ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR: This is only the fourth time at the Div. I level that Fullerton has won as many as 20 games in a season (also twice at Div. II) and the first time it has happened back-to-back. Fullerton has posted four consecutive winning seasons for the first time since George McQuarn's teams did it in 1981-82 thru 1984-85. Barring an NIT bid, the Titans at 8-5 (9-5 including neutral) are guaranteed their fourth consecutive season of .500 play or better on the road. Only the 2004-05 team has won nine games on hostile courts in a single season. The Titans have broken the school record (was 261) for steals with 262.
WITHIN REACH: &\#149; Fullerton never has won a conference basketball championship outright, boasting only a co-title in 1976. &\#149; Only twice has a Fullerton Div. I team finished with single-digit losses -- 23-9 in 1977-78 and 21-8 in 1982-83. &\#149; At 8-5, the Titans have the school's best single-season winning percentage (.615) on hostile courts (a loss at UCI would make it 8-6, .571 and drop it below the 7-5, .583 mark of the 1988-89 team). &\#149; Among the school team records in jeopardy are: -- scoring record is 2,462 points in 2006-07; currently at 2,325 with at least two games to play -- scoring average is 82.1 points in 2006-07; currently at 83.0 ppg -- 3-point field goals made is 253 in 2004-05; currently at 250
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 will call the UC Irvine 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.
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg r/apg Quick Notes
F 2 Scott Cutley* 6-5 Sr. 14.8 7.8r Among Big West Top 10 in scoring, rebounds, assists and FG percentage
F 34 Marcus Morgan* 6-5 Jr. 6.0 6.1r Matched career high with 13 points vs. UoP; had 11 rebounds at Saint Mary's
G 1 Josh Akognon 5-11 Jr. 19.8 3.2r Selected second team All-District 15 by NABC; new CSF 3-pt. leader with 98
G 22 Ray Reed* 5-11 Sr. 6.0 2.5a Averaging 11.7 points and 6.0 assists last 6 games
F 5 Frank Robinson** 6-4 Sr. 16.1 6.9r Only 18th Titan to score 1,000 points; needs 1 rebound to be tenth w/500
OFF THE BENCH:
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw* 5-10 Jr. 9.3 2.3a Playing with mask since fracturing his nose at Cal Poly on Feb. 9
C 21 Kenneth Alexander* 6-6 Sr. 3.1 2.2r Career-high 17
pts. off the bench at Southern Utah; solid 15 minutes at CSUN C 42 Andrew Green* 6-6 Sr. 3.1 2.6r Grabbed 7 rebounds in 20 minutes at UC Riverside
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Jr. 3.3 0.5a Career-high 17 points in career-high 25 minutes vs. UCR
C 13 Eddie Lima 6-9 Jr. 1.7 1.2r Has played only 12 minutes since November
G 15 Junior Russell 5-6 Jr. 6.1 2.6a Suspended indefinitely on Feb. 6 for violation of team rules; reinstated Mar. 3
*previous CSF letters earned
SERIES HISTORIES: Fullerton leads in its series with UC Irvine, 45-39, including a 93-83 win in Titan Gym on Jan. 4. UCI has not lost a home game this year. It was UCI which stopped Fullerton's school record 26-game home-court winning streak on Jan. 26, 1984, 81-80.
THE COACH: Bob Burton is 88-59 in his fifth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .599, 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 44-35 (.557). Dye was 37-37. Burton is 5-4 vs. UC Irvine and Coach Pat Douglass, 2-2 in the Bren Center.
THESE 30 ROAD WINS MUCH QUICKER: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past three seasons plus this season to date, they are 37-30 (.552) away from Titan Gym (6-5 on neutral floors) with a "hostile court" mark of 31-25 -- 9-7 in 2004-05; 7-6 in 2005-06; 7-7 last season and 8-5 to date this year. For the previous 10 seasons (1994-95 thru 2003-04) the combined road (including neutral) record was 30-115 (.207). With a 3-11 mark in his first season (2003-04), Burton's total CSF away record is 40-41 (.494).
FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 48-18 (.727) in Titan Gym including 11-3 this season.
NATIONAL STATISTICS: Through games of Mar. 2, Josh Akognon was No. 4 in the nation in free-throw percentage at .909 (No. 1 was Louis Dale of Cornell at .946 -- 87 of 92). Akognon ranked No. 12 in 3-point field goals made per game (3.62) and the Titans as a team ranked No. 18 at 9.0. The Titans were No. 5 in team scoring at 83.0 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 and again vs. Long Beach State has limited his mobility but not his production. On Feb. 18 he was selected Big West Conference Player of the Week for his role in wins over UC Davis and Pacific when 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 at that time and his 5 steals were a career high. He posted new season highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds vs. the 49ers and came back with 23 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday in Bakersfield. 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 7.8 rpg per game, No. 8 in scoring at 14.5 points per game, No. 7 in assists at 2.72 per game, No. 3 in field goal percentage at .521 and No. 4 in minutes played at 32.88 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 has a total of 8 double-doubles this year and 19 in his two-year CSF career. He is 63-of-105 (.600) from the floor in the last 9 games.
AKOGNON LIKES THE TEMPO: Josh Akognon entered the CSF record book twice on Feb. 28 despite a sub-par shooting night, again on March 1 and he is on pace for one more seasonal record. His second 3-pointer of the CSUN game was No. 90 to break Cal State Fullerton's single-season record of 89 by Don Leary in 1992-93 and he now sits at 98. 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. On Saturday, he surpassed Bobby Brown's single-season record of 244 3-point field goal attempts and now sits at 253. And despite missing 3 of his last 8 free throws, he is at .911 and ahead of Joe Small's 1991-92 record of .876. Akognon has made four or more treys in a game 16 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 (.911 on 82 of 90) and he is the No. 3 scorer at 19.8 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. On Tuesday he was selected to the second team NABC All-District 15 team with UCSB's Alex Harris, Arizona's Chase Budinger, New Mexico State's Justin Hawkins and UNLV's Wink Adams. The first team is Kevin Love and Darren Collison of UCLA, O. J. Mayo of USC, Jerryd Bayless of Arizona and Jame Harden of Arizona State.
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 1,090 to rank 15th. Next ahead is Pape Sow at 1,135. With 1 more rebound he will become only the tenth Titan to hit 500. Robinson was selected Big West player of the week on Feb. 4. With 133 3-pointers he is tied for No. 7 on the CSF list with Mark Murphy. No. 6 is Richard Morton with 140. Since sitting out the Dec. 17 Southern Utah game with an ankle injury, Robinson has played consistently well. He ranks No. 4 in scoring (16.1 ppg) and No. 4 in rebounding (6.9 rpg) in the Big West Conference. He's No. 10 in treys made per game at 1.70. 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 21 of 30 (.700) 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 on Feb. 19 to repair his broken nose and returned to score 6 points against CSUN. After the Cal Poly game of Feb. 9 in which he was injured, he was averaging 10.1 points and shooting .437 from behind the 3-point line. Wearing a protective mask in his last 5 games, he is averaging only 5.8 points and shooting only .304 from behind the arc. The Big West Conference's Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07 was thrust into the starting lineup on Feb. 7 due to the suspension of Junior Russell. At UCSB 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 ranks as the Titans' No. 4 scorer at 9.3 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 145 3-point baskets as a Titan, he is tied for No. 4 on the CSF career list with Mark Hill (1988-90). No. 3 is Chris St. Clair with 185. In Big West games, Crenshaw is 15-for-36 (.417) 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 11 games while shooting .543 (38-for-70) from the floor. In the last four games he's averaging 13.0 ppg and 5.2 assists. 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 Feb. 28.
RUSSELL REINSTATED: Point guard Junior Russell was reinstated on Mar. 3 from a Feb. 6 suspension for a violation of team rules and made the trip to Bakersfield. 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 four games by 30 or more points (Southern Utah, Furman, at UC Riverside and Long Beach State) this season and 10 (one on the road) in Coach Bob Burton's four-plus year tenure. The win over Long Beach State on Saturday night was the most lopsided CSF victory in the 95-game history of the series. 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.
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