Titans Travel to Saint Mary's for Tourney

Dec. 24, 2007

Moraga, Calif. -

UPCOMING:

Fri., Dec. 28 -- at Shamrock Classic, McKeon Pavilion (3,500), Moraga, CA, vs. Furman, 5 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 29 -- at Shamrock Classic, McKeon Pavilion (3,500), Moraga, CA, vs. Saint Mary's or Howard, 5 or 7:30 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 4 -- UC Irvine, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m.

Mon., Jan. 7 -- at UC Riverside, Student Recreation Center, (3,168), Riverside, 7 p.m.

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IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (6-3) get their final competition prior to the Big West Conference schedule's commencement when they travel to Moraga for the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic at Saint Mary's, where the field also includes opening-night opponent Furman and Howard. Fullerton played its first four road games out of state but does not leave California again this season.

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 be the announcer at Saint Mary's.

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 F 2 Scott Cutley* 6-5 Sr. 13.7 8.0r Just missed triple double vs. SUU w/15 points, 10 boards, 8 assists

F 34 Marcus Morgan* 6-5 Jr. 5.3 5.1r Career highs of 13 points, 9 rebounds at Arizona

G 1 Josh Akognon 6-1 Jr. 19.0 2.6r Leads Big West in 3-point field goals and free-throw percentage; No. 2 scorer

F 5 Frank Robinson** 6-4 Sr. 16.1 6.3r Averaged 25 points in two games vs. Montana

G 15 Junior Russell 5-6 Jr. 5.9 2.7a Scored 16 points off the bench at Central Michigan

OFF THE BENCH:

C 21 Kenneth Alexander* 6-6 Sr. 5.6 2.5r Career-high 17 pts. off the bench at So. Utah

G 22 Ray Reed* 5-11 Sr. 4.6 1.3a Season-high 11 points vs. Southern Utah

G 54 Marcus Crenshaw* 5-10 Jr. 10.2 3.0a Hit 5 of 9 treys vs. Southern Utah (Dec. 17)

C 42 Andrew Green* 6-6 Sr. 5.3 3.3r Made first Titan career start vs. Cal State L.A.

G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Jr. 3.1 0.9a Scored 9 points in 11 minutes of action at Montana

C 13 Eddie Lima 6-9 Jr. 3.0 1.6r Made 3 of 4 shots vs. CSU Bakersfield; slowed by knee injury

*letters earned

SERIES HISTORIES: The Titans have never met Furman; they are 1-0 vs. Howard and 5-3 vs. Saint Mary's. The win over Howard came in Titan Gym on Dec. 18, 1982, by a 69-51 score. The last trip to Saint Mary's produced an 89-62 loss on Nov. 30, 1999. The last win in McKeon Pavilion, where the Titans are 2-2, was 85-65 on Dec. 2, 1989.

ABOUT THE PALADINS: Furman is 0-10 after losing to Northern Arizona (68-56) and Utah Valley State (71-66) in the Gosner Foods Classic at Logan, Utah, over the weekend. The leading scorers are Justin Dehm (9.6 ppg) and Noah States (9.1 ppg). The Greenville, South Carolina- based Paladins are shooting only .410 from the floor and .364 behind the 3-point line while averaging 16 turnovers per game.

ABOUT THE BISON: Howard is 3-9 in an injury-plagued season that has seen it lose its last five games. The Bison suited only 8 players in Saturday's 97-58 loss at Illinois-Chicago. They have used 10 different starting lineups. Eugene Myatt (17.8 ppg) and Kyle Riley (10.0ppg) are the leading scorers. The Bison are shooting .405 from the floor and .251 behind the arc.

ABOUT THE GAELS: Saint Mary's is one of the surprise teams in the country with a 10-1 record after winning the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu over the weekend with wins over Tulane, East Tennessee State and Ohio University. The Gaels earlier beat Oregon and Seton Hall and their only loss is at Southern Illinois after they had cracked the National Top 20. They have four Australians on their roster including 6-foot freshman guard Patrick Mills, the MVP of the Rainbow Classic with 19 points per game. He averages 16.5 ppg on the season and is joined in double figures by 6-11 center Omar Samhan (12.3) and 6-7 forward Diamon Simpson (12.0), who is the leading reobunder at 9.5 per game.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 74-54 in his fifth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .578, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583).

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 30-27 (.526) away from Titan Gym. For the previous 10 seasons (1994-95 thru 2003-04) the combined road record was 30-115. With a 3-11 mark in his first season (2003-04), Burton's total CSF road record is 33-38.

REGULAR SEASON TOURNEY HISTORY: The Shamrock Classic will be the 28th regular season tournament for Cal State Fullerton as a Div. I competitor. The Titans have won 7 of them with 2-0 records, split two games on 16 occasions and also gone 1-2, 0-2 (twice) and 0-3. Under Coach Bob Burton the Titans have three splits -- at Central Connecticut in 2004-05 and at Univ. of San Francisco and Florida International in 2005-06. The Titans' last tourney championship was in 1986-87 at the Cougar Classic in Provo with wins over TCU and BYU.

HEALING MAN CUTLEY: The Titans' returning first-team All-Big West Conference senior forward Scott Cutley returned to the practice floor during Thanksgiving weekend, came off the bench at Arizona and started at Montana, six weeks after suffering a fractured right ankle. Last season he missed only one game despite a broken thumb. He led the team with 9 rebounds against Montana and posted three consecutive double-doubles to bring his two-season CSF total to 14. He narrowly missed CSF's second triple-double (Ralphy Holmes: 14 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists on March 5, 2005 vs. CSUN) with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists in the Dec. 17 win over Southern Utah. On Dec. 20 vs. Montana, after a slow start (4 points on 2 of 8 shooting in the first half), he finished strong and scored 7 of his 19 points in overtime on 3-for-3 shooting. He fouled out of the Wright State game with 4:07 to play and the score tied at 69-69.

AKOGNON LIKES THE TEMPO: Through the first five games of the season, Josh Akognon was averaging 24.2 points per game which got the attention of opponent coaching staffs. They have focused their defenses on him in the last 4 games, in which he has scored a total of 50 points on 15-of-39 shooting (8-of-29 treys). He was 0-for-5 from the floor in the Montana rematch on Dec. 20. 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. For the Titans he is averaging 3.8 treys per game to lead the Big West, where is No. 2 in scoring and No. 1 in free-throw percentage thru games of Dec. 23.

ROBINSON REBOUNDS: Frank Robinson sat out the Dec. 17 Southern Utah game with an ankle injury but played and played well the next two games. He scored 16 of his game-high 20 points before intermission on 6-for-9 shooting vs Montana and had 22 points and 5 rebounds vs. Wright State. He ranked No. 3 in scoring and No. 6 in rebounding in the Big West thru games of Dec. 23. He bounced back from one of his worst games as a Titan at Arizona to score a career-high 30 points at Montana to go with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. He was 1-for-7 from the floor in Tucson and 11-for-16 in Missoula. He had a double-double at Central Michigan with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

CRENSHAW SPARK PLUG: Junior guard Marcus Crenshaw, the Big West Conference's Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07, started at Montana (and Central Michigan) after 31 consecutive appearances off the bench. He started his first three games as a Titan in November of 2006 when the roster was short three suspended players. He went back to his reserve role last week and provided an offensive spark off the bench with 17 points against Southern Utah, 16 against Montana and 8 vs. Wright State on a combined 11-for-22 shooting from behind -- often well behind -- the 3-point line. He is only 6 makes away from moving into the Titans' all-time Top Ten list for successful treys.

MORGAN SHINES IN TV SPOTLIGHT: Marcus Morgan had his best statistical game against easily the toughest opponent he has faced in his 35-game Titan career. He scored 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while playing solid defense at Arizona. Two nights later in Montana, with a large contingent of family members watching, he got into early foul trouble and finished with only 2 points and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes of action. He also got into foul trouble at Central Michigan and finished with 3 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes. Last week he has had three solid games including a career-high 10 rebounds vs. Montana. And, he blocked the potential game-winning layup by Andrew Strait with one second left in regulation.

NOR-CAL CONNECTIONS: The Titans have a distinctive Northern California flavor to their roster with Head Coach Bob Burton beginning his coaching career at San Jose high schools and enjoying a long tenure at West Valley College in Saratoga. Marcus Morgan, Kenneth Alexander and Junior Russell all played at West Valley; Josh Akognon is from Petaluma and Marcio Lassiter is from San Francisco. Associate Head Coach Andy Newman also played and coached at West Valley.

SURVEY SAYS: Cal State Fullerton was a consensus third-place prediction at the annual Big West Conference Basketball Media Day on Oct. 24 behind UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly SLO. The Titans were third in the media poll and tied for third with Pacific in the coaches poll.

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