November 24, 2008

Titans Face Wake Forest in 76 Classic Opener

Nov. 24, 2008

Anaheim, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Thur., Nov. 27 -- at 76 Classic, vs. Wake Forest, Anaheim Convention Center Arena (6,500), 1:30 p.m. PST - (ESPN2 and ESPN 360)

Fri., Nov. 28 vs. UTEP or Saint Mary's;

Sun., Nov. 30 vs. Arizona State, Baylor, Charlotte or Providence

Tues., Dec. 2 -- at LSU, Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215), 7 p.m. CST - (FOX Sports South)
Sat., Dec. 6 -- Central Michigan, Titan Gym, 6:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: The new-look Titans (2-2) continue a string of five extremely challenging away contests spending Thanksgiving Weekend in Anaheim at the 76 Classic, which has been rated the nation's fourth strongest pre-conference tourney by Sports Illustrated.com. Surviving that, it's off to Baton Rouge for a Dec. 2 game at LSU. The Titans let the first test get away, squandering an 11-point second half lead on Sunday afternoon at defending Big Sky Conference champion Portland State to absorb a 76-75 defeat.

AUDIO: All Titan games (except the 76 Classic in Anaheim) 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. SID Mel Franks will call the game from LSU.

VIDEO: To link to the ESPN360.com directly to the network's player:
http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/espn360/index?id=283322239

PROBABLE STARTERS:
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg r/apg Quick Notes
G 1 Josh Akognon* 6-1 Sr. 24.3 1.5a 18-for-47 treys in 4 games; scored 41 points in win over Hawai'i
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 11.3 7.0a Zero turnovers vs. Hawai'i press plus 9 assists to go with 15 points
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 10.8 5.0r Clutch free throws gave Fullerton lead with 21.4 seconds to go at Portland St.
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 15.3 7.5r Scored 20 points in second half vs. Texas State; 10 boards at Portland St.
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 4.5 3.5r Anchored middle of unexpected CSF zone in second half vs. Hawai'i
OFF THE BENCH:
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 4.5 4.3r Had 12 points, 8 rebounds vs. Hope International
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 2.0 2.0a True freshman has 8 assists vs. 7 turnovers
G 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 8.5 2.5r Made delayed season debut vs. Hope after rehabbing from knee surgery
F 5 Regan Andersen 6-7 Jr. 3.0 3.5r Well-traveled Milwaukee native; walk-on transfer from Oxnard College
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 1.0 1.5r Redshirted last year; late start to his basketball career
G 44 Kwasi Mensah 6-3 Fr. 0.0 0.0a Walk-on from Rancho Cucamonga HS
DISABLED LIST:
G 11 Marcio Lassiter* 6-2 Sr. 6.7 4.0r Injured knee in practice at Portland State
*letters earned

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 HISTORIES: The Titans have never played an ACC school and have met only four of the other seven teams in the 76 Classic. They are 5-4 vs. Saint Mary's, 0-1 vs. Providence, 0-2 vs. Arizona State and 0-2 vs. Baylor.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 94-62 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .603, Burton is the winningest coach in Titan history. 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). Bobby Dye is second in winning percentage at .583 (109-78).

ROAD (Anaheim Convention Center is about 9 miles from CSF campus) WARRIORS: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past four seasons plus this year, they are 42-33 (.560) away from Titan Gym (includes 9-7 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 45-44 (.506). Fullerton is 14-20 all-time in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, playing 22 games in conference post-season tournaments, one as the visitor to UC Irvine and 11 "home" games scheduled in the late 1970s and eaerly 1980s in an attempt to maximize attendance against such foes as Michigan State, BYU, Creighton and Long Beach State.

DISTANCE MATTERS: Even after Fullerton's 10-for-20 effort against outmanned Hope International, it appears the 1-foot expansion of the 3-point field goal line has made a difference in shooting accuracy. Fullerton is a combined 30-for-83 (.361) and the opponents are 17-for-68 (.250). Last season the Titans shot .385 and opponents shot .375 from behind the arc when it was 19 feet, 9 inches from the center of the hoop.

Josh Akognon: Guard Josh Akognon saw both ends of the spectrum on his way to a berth on the all-tournament team in Honolulu. On Nov. 14 he made only 5 of 15 shots (1-for-6 treys) and fouled out with more than 15 minutes to play and only 11 points. Hawai'i Assistant Coach Larry Farmer scouted the game and was quoted fearfully: "Players like him don't have two bad games in a row." Akognon came out firing on Sunday and broke the 15-year-old facility's record with 41 points, making 12 of 29 shots including 7 of 18 3-pointers. He made 10 of 11 free throws and added 3 assists while playing 40 minutes. Akognon's outburst is the second highest scoring game in CSF's Div. I history (Bobby Brown had 47 vs. Bethune Cookman on Dec. 16, 2006) and his 18 3-point tries tied Mark Hill's school mark set on Jan. 3, 1990, at UNLV. The seven treys made matched Akognon's best (3 times last year). His previous career highs were 31 points and 13 3-point field goal attempts. For his efforts, he also earned Big West Conference Player of the Week honors. He played only 22 minutes vs. Hope, scoring 25 points including 6-of-11 shooting from behind the 3-point line. In one season plus four games, he has moved into the No. 8 spot on the Titans' career 3-point field goal list. His 116 treys last year broke Don Leary's 15-year-old single-season record by 27.

Gerard Anderson: Forward Gerard Anderson scored the Titans' first point of the season (3:27 into the Texas State game) but didn't score again until the second half, when he erupted for 14 points in a span of less than 5 minutes on his way to a 20-point half. He made a string of 9 consecutive free throws spanning the two games and finished 13-for-19 at the line. At Portland State he had 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds but missed a game-winning shot at the buzzer.

Jacques Streeter AND Ameer Shamsud-din: The Titans' tandem of freshmen point guards has shown great promise. Starter Jacques Streeter committed only 1 turnover in 63 minutes on Oahu while scoring 21 points (8-for-15 from the floor), handing out 10 assists (9 vs. Hawaii) and grabbing 11 rebounds. Ameer Shamsud-din came off the bench for 29 minutes in Hawai'i and scored 8 points (3-of-10 shooting) with 4 turnovers and 3 assists. Streeter had 12 assists and made all 5 of his shots vs. Hope.

Aaron Thompson: Guard Aaron Thompson helped Anderson rally the Titans against Texas State, finishing with 15 points and a game-high 7 rebounds to earn himself a start against Hawai'i. He was quieter against the taller Warriors, totaling 4 points and 2 rebounds in 20 minutes of play but had 11 points against Hope in 15 minutes. At Portland State he went 4-for-4 at the line in the final 3 minutes and gave Fullerton a 1-point lead with 21.4 seconds to play.

Marcio Lassiter INJURED: The Titans are down to only one returning letterman for an undetermined amount of time. Marcio Lassiter injured a knee in a collision with Aaron Thompson in practice Friday night and spent the rest of the weekend in Portland on crutches. An appointment with an orthopedist is lanned.

RHYMES DEBUTS: Chris Rhymes made a delayed season debut on Nov. 20 vs. Hope, finally cleared after rehabbing since his March knee surgery. He scored 12 points in 17 minutes.

TITANS REGULARS ON THE TUBE: The Titans' game at LSU on Dec. 2 will be carried by FOX Sports South out of Atlanta, making it the ninth CSF game of the season to be televised. The others: at Hawai'i (KFVE Honolulu), all 3 games at the 76 Classic Nov. 27-30 on ESPN2 or ESPNU; Jan. 8 at Cal Poly on ESPNU; Jan. 10 at UCSB on FSN Prime Ticket; Jan. 17 vs. Pacific on ESN2; Mar. 7 vs. UC Irvine on FSN West. Additional possibilities are the ESPNU Bracket Buster the weekend of Feb. 21 and the Big West Conference post-season tourney. Fullerton had been on national TV only a handful of times prior to the last few seasons.

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