Fast-Starting Titans Open Big West Play

Dec. 27, 2006

San Luis Obispo, CA -

UPCOMING:
Thur., Dec. 28 -- at Cal Poly SLO, Mott Gym, 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 30 -- at UC Santa Barbara, Thunderdome, 7 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 4 -- vs. Cal State Northridge, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (9-2) takes its best start in 23 seasons into Big West Conference play with games on the Central Coast at Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara this weekend. The 1983-84 Titans' team (which featured three regulars who would play in the NBA in Leon Wood, Kevin Henderson and Ozell Jones), opened that season 13-2.

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 for the Cal Poly and UCSB gamed.

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
C 5 Justin Burns** 6-7 Sr. 12.0 6.8r Three double-doubles; 0 points vs. Bethune-Cookman but 16 vs. ULaLa and 14 vs. San Jose State
F 2 Scott Cutley 6-5 Jr. 14.6 9.1r Missed only one game with broken left thumb
G 3 Bobby Brown*** 6-2 Sr. 21.6 4.6a Passed Ike Harmon for No. 3 on Titans' career points list
G 22 Ray Reed 5-11 Jr. 11.6 4.1a Leading Big West Conference in steals (2.7 ) and assists (4.1)
G 0 Frank Robinson* 6-4 Jr. 11.6 5.3r Career-high 7 assists vs. BCC; made 3 of 5 treys vs. ULaLa.

OFF THE BENCH:
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw 5-10 So. 11.9 2.8a Made 5 of 9 treys vs. San Jose State
F 21 Kenneth Alexander 6-6 Jr. 4.6 4.0r Got first start vs. Bethune-Cookman; 6 rebounds in solid 25 minutes at UCLA
F 43 Chris Minardo 6-10 So. 5.6 2.7r Had 5 points, 4 rebounds in 11 quality minutes at Pepperdine
C 42 Andrew Green 6-6 Jr. 5.2 3.9r Leads team in boards per minutes played
F 34 Marcus Morgan 6-5 Jr. 3.3 3.1r Started first three games; sidelined by knee problem for three games
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORIES: The Titans trail Cal Poly SLO, 26-17, in the all-time series and are 8-12 since the Mustangs joined the Big West Conference. The Mustangs swept last year's series and the Titans swept the series the previous year. The Titans trail the Gauchos, 31-30, but have won the last five meetings. Fullerton has won three of its past four games in Santa Barbara.

ABOUT THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly is 5-5 and coming off a 95-75 loss at Fresno State on Saturday night. Cal Poly is 4-0 in Mott Gym this season.

ABOUT THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara is 8-3 and coming off an 81-63 loss at University of San Diego on Friday night. It snapped a 4-game winning streak and was the Gauchos' first road loss in six games. UCSB is 3-2 at home.

ABOUT THE TITANS: The Titans are trying to post their third consecutive winning season, something that hasn't been done in Fullerton since Coach George McQuarn posted four winning records between 1981-82 and 1984-85. They got off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1989-90. The Titans feature three returning "regulars" in seniors Bobby Brown at point guard and Justin Burns at center and junior guard Frank Robinson, who was the Big West Conference's "sixth-man" of the year in 2005-06. Four-year transfers Scott Cutley and Marcus Crenshaw from Kent State and Ray Reed from Georgetown have made an immediate impact along with community college transfers Kenneth Alexander and Marcus Morgan from West Valley, Andrew Green from College of the Sequoias and Chris Minardo from Citrus College. Six different players (Minardo, Reed, Crenshaw, Cutley, Brown and Burns) led or shared the lead in scoring in the first six games, but Brown has been the co-leader or leader in six of the last seven.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 57-43 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career, having coached game No. 100 on Saturday afternoon vs. San Jose State. At .570, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). He is 3-3 vs. Cal Poly and 5-2 vs. UCSB.

CONFERENCE OPENERS: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 1-2 in conference openers, splitting two with Cal State Northridge and losing last year at home to Cal Poly. The Titans lost openers to Cal Poly in both 2001-02 (home) and 2002-03 (road).

ON THE ROAD: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past two seasons plus this year to date they are 23-19 away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115. Burton's total CSF road record is 26-30.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 31-13 (.698) in Titan Gym and have a 10-game winning streak alive.

NEW FRILLS: Not coincidental to the recent home success, a squad of cheerleaders was added to the home court ambience for last season. Along with a flag carrier and a new student band, they join the entertainment package headed by the six-time national champion dance team.

CHALK TALK: Assistant Coach Andy Newman will hold a free pre-game reception and "chalk talk" for the Titan Athletics Club on Jan. 6 at 4 p.m. prior to the 6:05 p.m. game with Pacific. The location is University Village, across from campus on north side of Yorba Linda Blvd.

LIVING RIGHT: Twice this season the Titans have survived 3-point field goal tries by opponents at the buzzer that would have turned CSF victories into defeat. And both times it was the opponent's leading scorer -- Ross Mouton at Louisiana-Lafayette and Marvin Lea at Pepperdine -- taking the shot. Ironically, in both games, the Titans led by 18 in the first half -- 29-11 at ULaLa and 30-12 at Pepperdine.

OUT OF THE BLOCKS: With the exception of the Nov. 22 game at Texas-San Antonio (where they fell behind 19-7 at 11:36), the Titans have jumped out to early double-digit leads in every other game, to wit: 14-2 at 15:24 vs. Cal Maritime; 24-12 at 10:10 vs. Hope; 17-7 at 15:19 at Lafayette; 33-23 at 9:26 at Eastern Washington; 14-3 at 14:43 vs. UTSA; 14-4 at 15:18 at UCLA; 13-2 at 15:42 at Pepperdine; 14-2 at 15:53 vs. Bethune Cookman, 24-14 at 7:41 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette and 16-6 at 12:06 vs. San Jose State.

BOBBY FOCAL POINT: Senior point guard Bobby Brown is the focal point of the Cal State Fullerton program. An unheralded product of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, he has developed into one of the nation's finest players and an All-America candidate. He tested the NBA draft waters last summer but opted to return for his senior year. He has been nominated for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard and is on CollegeInsider.com's pre-season Mid-Major All-American team. He has made numerous pre-season All-Big West Conference teams and is projected as player of the year by many. Last year he was first-team All-Big West and second-team All-NABC District.

He needs 289 more points this season to become the Titans' all-time leading scorer, surpassing All-American, Olympic gold medalist and 6-year NBA veteran Leon Wood. At Pepperdine he passed Greg Bunch and Chris Dade to move into the No. 4 spot on the list and went to No. 3 ahead of Ike Harmon (at 1,557) during the Louisiana-Lafayette game. Brown was selected Big West Conference player of the week after his 47-point game against Bethune-Cookman, the second highest scoring total in Big West history behind 53 by Raymond Lewis of Cal State L.A. on Feb. 23, 1973, vs. Long Beach State. The 46-year-old school record was 45 points by Jon Brettman vs. Luke Air Force Base on Dec. 12, 1960. The old school Div. I record was 38 by Richard Morton on Jan. 7, 1988, vs. UC Irvine. Eleven 3-point field goals broke the CSF mark of 10 by Ryan Dillon (Jan. 31, 2001, vs. Boise State) and tied the Big West record of Chris Brown of UC Irvine on Mar. 13, 1994, vs. New Mexico State. Brown had 12 points in first 4:07 and 17 (of team's first 19) in first 7:11.

Frank Robinson: The junior swingman was the key Titan off the bench last year when he was selected the "sixth man" of the year in the Big West Conference. He became a starter for the final three weeks of the season and played to an all-conference level, averaging 16.6 points over the last seven games capped by a 25-point, 12-rebound effort in defeat to Long Beach State in the semifinals of the post-season tournament. Overall, he averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds and was No. 3 in the conference in 3-point field goal accuracy at .445 (49 of 110). This year he scored 16 points in each of his first two games but has hit a shooting slump from long range, making only 7 of 29 3-point tries over the past 6 games. He had a career-high 7 assists vs. Bethune Cookman.

Justin Burns: Senior center bounced back from a scoreless game vs. Bethune-Cookman to lead the Titans with 16 points vs. Louisiana-Lafayette and he added 14 vs. San Jose State. Since winning Big West Conference Player of the Week honor a few weeks ago when he posted a pair of double-doubles in victories at Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana-Lafayette, he is averaging 11.1 points and 4.6 rebounds. He had a career second-best of 21 points vs. Texas-San Antonio. With three double-doubles this season, he has moved into the Titans' career Top 12 list with 8. He began last week ranked No. 3 in rebounding in the Big West.

Scott Cutley: Junior forward is playing with a splint of his left hand to protect a fracture to his thumb suffered in practice prior to the Bethune-Cookman game, which he missed. With the splint he has 19 points and 18 rebounds in the last 2 games. He broke in with a bang, scoring 31 points with 11 rebounds in his Titan debut at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 24. It was only the 62nd 30-point game by a Titan at the Div. I level. He scored the game-tying buckets in the final minute of both regulation and overtime. He came back with 19 points at Eastern Washington and a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards vs. Texas-San Antonio. At UCLA he led the team with 7 rebounds and had 11 points, all in the first half. He then had a career-high 15 rebounds to go with 10 points for another double-double at Pepperdine.

RAY REED: Georgetown transfer Ray Reed leads the Titans and the Big West Conference in assists (4.1 ) and steals (2.7 ) through the first 11 games. He was in double figures in scoring in each of the first five games but then went five games in single digits until a 15-point effort vs. San Jose State. He made only 1 of 11 field goals at Pepperdine and was 4-for-23 in the 3 games prior to going a combined 12-for-18 in the last three games. He just missed a triple-double against Hope International when he had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

Marcus Crenshaw: He started the first three games and averaged 18 points. Playing considerably less minutes, he has averaged 9.5 points in the last eight games. He is second on the team with 29 3-point field goals and his total of 31 assists is No. 3.

FALLBACK, BABY: The Titans went on a 3-point shooting spree in their recent 3-game homestand. They combined to make 34 of 73 tries (46.6%) while their opponents were going 9 for 44 (20.5%). The 13 they made (11 by Bobby Brown) vs.Bethune-Cookman has been surpassed only twice in CSF history -- 14 on two occasions. They came back from the BCC game to make 10 (of 22 tries) vs. Louisiana and 11 of 25 vs. San Jose State.

WESTCHESTER CONNECTION: Westchester High School, one of California's most successful prep basketball programs in recent times, leaves a lot of flavor on the Titans' roster. Current players Bobby Brown, Scott Cutley and Jarrel Lake all played there while Titan Assistant Coach Marlon Morton was on the WHS staff. Last year's team had two more former Comets in Jerard Moret (who transferred to West L.A. College) and John Clemmons (eligibility expired).

ONLY ONE NEW STOP: Lafayette, Louisiana, with its Cajundome was the only stop on the Titans' basketball itinerary this year where the Titans have not previously competed. Conversely, three new opponents visited Titan Gym -- California Maritime, Bethune-Cookman and Louisiana-Lafayette.

SURVEY SAYS: Cal State Fullerton was a consensus third-place prediction at the annual Big West Conference Basketball Media Day on Oct. 25. Both the media and coaches polls had Fullerton behind Pacific and Long Beach State.