December 16, 2008

After Finals, Titans Seek Revenge Against Bobcats

Dec. 15, 2008

Fullerton, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Mon., Dec. 22 -- Montana State, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 29 -- Cal State Northridge, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 3 -- at UC Irvine, Bren Center, 7:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (5-6) seek to avenge a come-from-ahead 74-60 loss at Montana State on Dec. 9 when the Bobcats return the game in Titan Gym on Monday night. It's Fullerton's last game before the Big West Conference schedule begins. Both teams are involved in final exams this week but the Bobcats also play a Saturday night game at Long Beach State. The Titans lead the Big West Conference in scoring, as they did last year, but also are No. 1 in field goal percentage defense, a category where they were eighth of nine teams last year.

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 next two games.

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. 25.5 2.2a Pair of 41-point games, Player of Week awards; FT% mark vs. Bakersfield
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 7.9 4.4a Freshman third in Big West with 1.81 assist-to-turnover ratiio
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 5.2 5.5r Leads Big West with 2.0 blocked shots per game
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 10.8 6.2r Quick return from sprained ankle... got 15 points vs. CSU Bakersfield
G 11 Marcio Lassiter* 6-2 Sr. 8.8 2.9r Second to Akognon with 14 3-point field goals
OFF THE BENCH:
F 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 5.2 2.3r Scored 10 points in first half vs. Charlotte on 4-for-4 shooting
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 8.6 3.6r Season-high 18 points to go with 6 steals at Montana State
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 4.9 3.8r Leads team with .622 field-goal percentage
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 0.9 1.4a Scored first points on Mainland with deuce vs. CSU Bakersfield
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 0.9 0.7r 4 points on 2-for-2 shooting at Montana State
F 5 Regan Andersen 6-7 Jr. 1.5 2.0r 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
*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 Bobcats lead the series, 3-1, after a 74-60 win in Bozeman on Dec. 9. The home team has won each of the meetings including an earlier home-and-home -- Dec. 10, 1998 - CSF 73-67 in Titan Gym and Nov. 27, 1999 - MSU 88-64 in Bozeman. The first meeting occurred in 1962-63 when MSU defeated "Orange State," 75-58, in Bozeman.

ABOUT THE BOBCATS: Montana State will take a 4-4 record into a California trip that will take it to Long Beach State on Saturday (Dec. 20) before playing in Titan Gym. Since beating the Titans in Bozeman, the Bobcats dropped a 70-51 decision to Washington State in Seattle. Bobby Howard, who had 20 points vs. the Titans and hit 4 of 8 3-pointers, had only 5 points vs. the Cougars and went 0-for-5 from the 3-point line. MSU shot only 33 percent from the floor vs. WSU.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 97-66 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .595, 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).

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 51-18 (.739) in Historic Titan Gym including 3-0 this season. Fullerton's all-time Div. I Titan Gym record is 276-152 (.645). Fullerton also is 1-8 in regular season home games at the Anaheim Convention Center.

SECOND HALF BLAHS: In the last three games, the Titans have slumbered out of the locker room at halftime. Vs. Central Michigan it took 3:09 to score and 3:28 to get a field goal. At Montana State, the Bobcats "won" the game with a 15-2 run over the first 4:09 of the second half. Against Cal State Bakersfield, it was 2:55 to score and 4:04 to get a field goal, which stopped an 8-2 Roadrunner run.

LOSING BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Not surprisingly, given the heights on the roster and the quality of the competition, rebounding has been a problem for the Titans in 2008-09... Although outrebounded by only about 3 per game, the Titans have had some glaring disparities and have given up 16 offensive rebounds per game... Two of the three worst rebounding disparities of the Bob Burton Era have occurred this season -- minus 29 (56 vs. 27) at LSU and minus 22 (54 vs. 32) vs. Saint Mary's... the other in that neighborhood was minus 23 (50 vs. 27) vs. Wisconsin in last year's NCAA Tournament... Saint Mary's grabbed 26 offensive rebounds and both LSU and Central Michigan 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.

PLAYER UPDATES:

Guard Josh Akognon was fourth in the nation in scoring in games through Dec. 14, trailing only Davidson's Stephen Curry (31.9), Chicago State's David Holston (26.9) and North Dakota State's Ben Woodside (26.9)... He has posted the second and third highest scoring games by a Div. I Titan with a pair of 41-point efforts this season at Hawaii and vs. Cal State Bakersfield... Each time he has been selected Big West Conference Player of the Week... Only Bobby Brown's (currently of the Sacramento Kings) 47-point effort vs. Bethune Cookman on Dec. 16, 2006, is better... Akognon now has two of the top 20 scoring games in conference history... Only three other players (Raymond Lewis of Cal State L.A., Ed Ratleff of Long Beach State and Scott Brooks of UC Irvine) have scored 41 or more points more than once... Akognon is sixth in the nation with 4.09 3-pointers made per game and 16th in free-throw percentage at .900.

Akognon bounced back Saturday from one of his poorest shooting nights (6 of 23 FGs including 3 of 14 from the 3-point line) at Montana State on Dec. 9, where his school-record string of consecutive 20-point games ended at eight in an 18-point effort... It came on the heels of a solid all-around game vs. Central Michigan where he had a team-high 27 points, career-high 7 assists and tied for team high with 6 rebounds... 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 20.1 shots per game including 11.5 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... In 43 career games, Akognon already has moved into the No. 4 spot on the CSF career 3-point field goal list with 161 (Chris St. Clair is No. 3 at 185)... He's also No. 4 in attempts with 421 (St. Clair is No. 3 with 511)... Akognon is a nominee for the Bob Cousy Award to the nation's top point guard.

Forward Gerard Anderson missed only the Montana State game due to an ankle sprained in the opening minute vs. Central Michigan on Dec. 6... Other than a lack of conditioning, he appeared healthy against Bakersfield, making all six of his shots on his way to 15 points including a spectacular dunk off a lob pass from Josh Akognon on a fast break... 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 still unbeaten Wake Forest team that started three players 6-foot-9 or better.

Point guard Jacques Streeter has been slowed by an ankle injured in the second half vs. Central Michigan... He has handled the ball extremely well for a freshman with only 27 turnovers vs. 49 assists and has been among the Big West leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio, currently No. 3 at 1.81... 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.

Guard Aaron Thompson has proven to be an explosive offensive player... He had a season-high 18-point effort at Montana State where he went 7-for-10 from the floor and added 6 steals, the best mark in the Big West this season... He's also been clutch... 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 missed one of six vs. Bakersfield and is now 36-for-38 (.947) for his career... 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 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 and took over his starting role in Bozeman.

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 half (22 of 44) of the team's total of rejections to lead the Big West at 2.0 per game... 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.

BIG WEST CONFERENCE STANDINGS: (thru games of Dec. 14)
Conference Overall
W L Pct. W L Pct. Hm Rd Neut
UC Riverside 0 0 .000 5 2 .714 4-0 1-2 0-0
Pacific 0 0 .000 5 3 .625 3-1 2-2 0-0
UC Santa Barbara 0 0 .000 5 4 .556 2-2 1-2 2-0
Cal State Fullerton 0 0 .000 5 6 .455 3-0 1-3 1-3
Long Beach State 0 0 .000 4 5 .444 3-0 1-5 0-0
UC Davis 0 0 .000 3 6 .333 1-1 0-4 2-1
Cal Poly 0 0 .000 2 5 .286 1-2 0-2 1-1
Cal State Northridge 0 0 .000 2 6 .250 2-0 0-6 0-0
UC Irvine 0 0 .000 1 6 .143 0-2 1-4 0-0