Nov. 22, 2005
Fullerton, Calif. -
Wed., Nov. 23 - Pepperdine, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m.
Mon., Nov. 28 - at South Dakota St., Frost Arena, Brookings, SD, 5 p.m. PST
Wed., Nov. 30 - at Kansas State, Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, KS, 6 pm. PST (FSN Midwest TV)
IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton plays its second home game but last until Jan. 2 when the Titans host Pepperdine on Wednesday night. The Titans are 1-0 for the first time since 1996-97 after opening with an easy 97-52 victory over NAIA neighbor Hope International on Sunday afternoon. The Titans are the pre-season favorites to win the Big West Conference championship. The momentum began with a 21-11 season in 2004-05 capped by a 2-1 run on the road in the post-season NIT. But two of the top three scorers and rebounders from that team are gone and inexperienced players will have to fill the void.
TOY COLLECTIONS: Cal State Fullerton's Student-Athlete Advisory Council will be at the doors to Titan Gym collecting unwrapped toys to present at their annual holiday party at the Crittenton Home for Children in Fullerton in December.
ABOUT THE WAVES: Pepperdine opened with a home loss to Connecticut, the 2004 NCAA Champion, 75-56, in Firestone Fieldhouse on Friday night. Mater Dei High product Michael Gerrity is the new point guard and he had a 19-point, 4-assist debut. The Waves made only 1 of 10 3-point field goals and shot only 32 percent from the floor vs. the Huskies.
"RADIO": All 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 is the announcer vs. the Waves. Nine road games will be heard LIVE on KSPA (1510 AM) beginning with the Dec. 21 contest at San Jose State. Justin Alderson will be the radio announcer.
SERIES HISTORY: Pepperdine holds an 11-8 advantage in the series, which has seen only one game in the past three seasons after six annual contests. Fullerton snapped a 3-game losing streak with a 78-74 victory on Dec. 1, 2003, at Pepperdine, behind 22 points by then freshman Bobby Brown and 18 points and 9 rebounds for center Pape Sow. It was the first Titan win for Coach Bob Burton after an 0-3 start.
THE COACHES: Paul Westphal is 69-53 in his fifth year at Pepperdine and 153-80 in his collegiate career. The former NBA player and coach is 0-1 vs. Fullerton's Bob Burton, who is 33-28 in his third year at Cal State Fullerton and career.
DEEPER ROSTER PICTURE: A year ago the Titans took only nine able players on their first road trip due to injuries and first semester ineligibility. This year there are 16 eligible players and only guards John Clemmons (foot) and Jermaine Harper (cyst removed) are ailing. True freshmen Jarrel Lake and Mike Danielian did not suit vs. Hope and will likely redshirt along with Chris Minardo (wrist injury).
THE HYPE: The Titans are the favorites -- for the first time in anyone's recollection -- to win the conference championship. They've won only one in the past and that was a co-title in 1975-76 when there were only six teams in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. The Titans also bear the burden of being picked as one of the 65 teams in the NCAA Tournament by Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com and are the conference champion favorite by Athlon, Lindy's and The Sporting News publications. They are picked for second by Street & Smith behind Pacific.
Vs. THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE: Fullerton has an all-time record of 53-49 vs. the current WCC membership -- (16-11 vs. USD, 13-11 vs. LMU, 8-11 vs. Pepperdine, 7-6 vs. Portland, 5-3 vs. Saint Mary's, 4-4 vs. USF, 0-1 vs. Santa Clara and 0-2 vs. Gonzaga. Under Coach Bob Burton the Titans are 2-1 with wins over Pepperdine and USF and a loss to LMU.
BURTON SHINES: At 33-28 (.541), Bob Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). At 19-17, Burton has the only winning record in conference play among all Titan head coaches.
WESTCHESTER CONNECTION: Assistant Coach Marlon Morton joins the Titans' staff this year after a long career assisting at Westchester High School, one of California's most successful prep basketball programs in recent times. He sees a lot of familiar faces since Bobby Brown, John Clemmons, Scott Cutley, Jarrel Lake and Jerard Moret all played for the Comets.
SEASON OPENERS: The Titans have struggled out of the gate in recent history, losing last eight consecutive season openers before Sunday's 97-52 win over Hope International. The last previous opening win was an unlikely one -- 75-67 at Brigham Young on Nov. 22, 1996.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Fullerton played only 12 of its 32 games last year in Titan Gym and this year's schedule shows another dozen games at home and at least 15 on the road. The Titans do not have a home game between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, making trips to South Dakota/Kansas, San Francisco, San Jose and Miami.
FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 19-8 in Titan Gym, posting the first consecutive winning seasons at home since 1997-98 and 1998-99. Last year's team was 10-2, losing only to UC Irvine and Pacific. Going back to the 2003-04 season, they have won 16 of their last 19 home games.
NEW FRILLS: Not coincidental to the recent home success, a squad of cheerleaders has been added to the home court ambience. Along with a flag carrier and a new student band, they join the entertainment package headed by the five-time national champion dance team, which had to settle for a second-place ranking last season.
LOOKING BACK: Last year's Titans team accomplished a remarkable number of positive statistics and records, most notably tying for the second most victories in a Div. I season (21 vs. 23 in 1977-78 and 21 in 1982-83) and posting only the third and fourth post-season (NIT) wins in school history to complete the first winning season since 1992-93.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Titans have not had consecutive winning seasons since 1983-84 and 1984-85, both 17-13 marks under Coach George McQuarn.
FALL SIGNEES: After a major emphasis on size in last year's recruiting class, the Titans have looked more to the wings in recruiting for 2006-07. Signing in the early November signing period were Kent State transfer guard Marcus Crenshaw (5-10), Boise State transfer forward Andrew Green (6-6) and West Valley College forward Marcus Morgan (6-5). The Titans also have a pair of four-year college transfers redshirting: forward Scott Cutley (6-5) from Kent State and guard Ray Reed (6-1) from Georgetown.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Six players on last year's team are no longer on the roster. Ralphy Holmes graduated in August and is playing in the CBA with the Yakama team. Yaphett King is attempting to play professionally in a foreign country. Hardy Asprilla remains in school and is assisting the players with academics while providing an experienced and inspirational voice from near the bench. Derek Quinet had two years of eligibility remaining but decided to focus on his classroom work this year. Danny Lambert quit the team in October. Drew Awad remains hospitalized after a reoccurrence of the cancer which forced him to drop out of school last December.