December 8, 2008

Back to the Air for Hobbled Titans

Dec. 8, 2008

Bozeman, MT -

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UPCOMING:
Tues., Dec. 9 -- at Montana State, Worthington Arena, 7 p.m. MST
Sat., Dec. 13 -- Cal State Bakersfield, Titan Gym, 6:05 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 22 -- Montana State, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (4-5) play their final scheduled out-of-state game Tuesday night in Bozeman, taking on Montana State in the first of an in-season home-and-home series that will bring the Bobcats to Titan Gym on Dec. 22. Fullerton is 2-5 away from Titan Gym and will have flown about 15,000 miles since Labor Day Weekend when it returns from Bozeman. Leading rebounder Gerard Anderson is out with a sprained ankle suffered as he made the first basket of the Titans' 79-65 win Saturday night over Central Michigan that saw a couple of other players get dinged.

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. Mel Franks will call the game at Montana State.

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. 24.6 2.1a First Div. I Titan to score 20 points in 8 consecutive games
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 9.0 4.8a 1.72 assist-to-turnover ratio among Big West leaders
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 5.3 5.4r 11 boards vs. Charlotte, 9 at LSU; 5 blocked shots vs. Saint Mary's & CMU
G 11 Marcio Lassiter* 6-2 Sr. 9.1 3.0r Second to Akognon with 12 3-point field goals
G 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 5.9 2.1r Scored 10 points in first half vs. Charlotte on 4-for-4 shooting
OFF THE BENCH:
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 8.2 4.2r Made bucket to put Titans ahead for good in OT vs. Charlotte
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 4.9 4.2r Leads team with .552 field-goal percentage
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 0.9 1.6a True freshman has 13 assists vs. 10 turnovers
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 0.6 0.9r Redshirted last year; late start to his basketball career
F 5 Regan Andersen 6-7 Jr. 3.0 3.5r Well-traveled Milwaukee native; walk-on transfer from Oxnard College
G 44 Kwasi Mensah 6-3 Fr. 0.0 0.0a Walk-on from Rancho Cucamonga HS
DIABLED:
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 10.3 6.4r Sprained an ankle in first minute vs. Central Michigan
*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 HISTORY: The Titans and Montana State have met three times previously and the Bobcats hold a 2-1 advantage. The home team has won each game -- 75-58 MSU in 1962-63 and 88-64 on Nov. 27, 1999, in Bozeman. Fullerton won in Titan Gym, 73-67, on Dec. 10, 1998.

ABOUT THE BOBCATS: Montana State is 3-3 after a Big Sky Conference-opening 61-55 loss at Eastern Washington on Saturday night. Two of the wins came in overtime -- at Colorado and at Oregon state. Bobby Howard leads four players averaging in double figures at 13.0 ppg. Divaldo Mbunga is at 12.3 ppg and is the leading rebounder at 6.5 per game. MSU is shooting only 41 percent from the floor including .305 at the 3-point line.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 96-65 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .596, 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 WARRIORS: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past four seasons plus this year, they are 43-36 (.544) 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 46-47 (.495). Burton is 1-0 in the state of Montana, winning in Missoula on Nov. 30, 2007, 100-91.

RARE LOSING STREAK: CSF's recent 3-game losing strak was its longest since a 3-gamer Jan. 19-25, 2006. Coach Burton also had a 3-game losing streak in `04-05 and two in `03-04, when he had an additional 4-game skid. Last year's team lost consecutive games only once.

PLAYER UPDATES:
Guard Josh Akognon has scored 20 or more points in every game except the season opener vs. Texas State, when he fouled out with 15 minutes to play with 11 points. He is the first Div. I Titan to score 20 or more in eight consective games. Richard Morton is the only other Titan to do it in as many as seven consecutive games (2/2/87 vs. San Jose State thru 2/21/87 at UCSB)... Leon Wood did it six times in a row in the 1983-84 season... Akognon is coming off a solid all-around game vs. Central Michigan with team-high 27 points, career-high 7 assists and tied for team high with 6 rebounds plus he handled the ball against the late CMU full-court press. Akognon made the all-tournament team in Hawai'i and was one vote shy of making the 6-man All-76 Classic squad in Anaheim. He is averaging 19.8 shots per game including 11.2 3-point tries. He set a Stan Sheriff Center record in Honolulu with 41 points in the win over Hawaii, making 12 of 29 shots including 7 of 18 3-pointers. It was the second highest scoring game in CSF's Div. I history (Bobby Brown, currently of the Sacramento Kings, had 47 vs. Bethune Cookman on Dec. 16, 2006). In 41 career games, Akognon already has moved into the No. 4 spot on the CSF career 3-point field goal list with 152 (Chris St. Clair is No. 3 at 185). He's also No. 4 in attempts with 396 (St. Clair is No. 3 with 511). Akognon is a nominee for the Bob Cousy Award.

Forward Gerard Anderson has averaged only 5.0 points over the last 4 games after averaging 14.2 over the first five. He sprained an ankle making the first basket of the game vs. Central Michigan and played only one minute. He 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. At Portland State he had 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds but missed a game-winning shot at the buzzer. He had 10 rebounds in the first half and 12 total against a Wake Forest team that started three players 6-foot-9 or better.

Point guard Jacques Streeter has handled the ball extremely well for a freshman with only 25 turnovers vs. 43 assists and has been among the Big West leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio. He has shown the potential for a triple double -- scoring in double figures 5 times, getting 12 assists in one game and grabbing as many as 9 rebounds. He injured an ankle in the second half of the CMU game and played sparingly down the stretch.

Guard Aaron Thompson has proven to be a clutch player. 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. His basket put Fullerton ahead to stay at 77-75 in overtime vs. Charlotte. He did miss a potential game winner with about 30 seconds to go in regulation vs. Charlotte.

Guard Marcio Lassiter made a quick return from a knee that was bruised severely on Nov. 22 in Portland, causing him to miss the Portland State game and the first half vs. Wake Forest. He got 8 points in the second half vs. the Deamon Deacons and totaled a combined 20 vs. Saint Mary's and Charlotte back in a starting role. He matched his career high by making three treys vs. Charlotte, in only three tries including a back-breaker in overtime. He missed the first free throw of his CAREER in the second half vs. Central Michigan, snapping a string of 28 in a row including all 18 last season. He has a current streak of three in a row. He also limped through the second half vs. CMU after landing on his back when undercut going for a loose ball.

Forward 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. He is still rounding into shape but was a catalyst vs. Charlotte, coming off the bench to hit 4-of-4 shots including a pair of 3-pointers in a 10-point first-half effort that rallied Fullerton from an early 8-point deficit. He played a season high of 22 minutes vs. CMU after Gerard Anderson's early departure.

Forward Papa Guisse had his best game of the young season vs. Charlotte with 8 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes of play. He blocked 5 shots vs. Saint Mary's and also vs. Central Michigan and on the season has more than half (18 of 32) of the team's total of rejections. He grabbed 8 rebounds at LSU.

TITANS REGULARS ON THE TUBE: The Titans' game at LSU on Dec. 2 was carried by FOX Sports South out of Atlanta, making it one of nine CSF games of this 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.