TIP OFF: The Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team will celebrate the end of finals week with a single game this weekend as the Titans (5-5 overall) host cross-Nutwood rival Hope International on Saturday (Dec. 22) at 6 p.m. at Titan Gym. The contest will be the second game of a doubleheader after the Fullerton women's team takes on San Jose State at 3 p.m.
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CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, Cal State Fullerton's home games, as well as selected road contests, can be heard live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Veteran voice of the Titans, Mike Martinez, will have the call live from Titan Gym on Thursday night against the Royals.
LOOKING AHEAD: After Saturday's game against Hope International, the Titans will ring in the New Year on Saturday (Dec. 29) at 7:05 p.m., hosting UC Santa Barbara in the Big West Conference opener for both teams. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
SCOUTING THE ROYALS: Hope International, located mere steps away from the Cal State Fullerton campus across Nutwood Ave., enters the weekend with an 11-1 overall record, having won six-straight after a win at UC Merced (82-63) on Dec. 15... HIU's only loss this season came by two points at Northwest Christian (65-63) the day after Thanksgiving... senior guard Kris Rosales leads a quartet of Royals in double figures at 15.0 ppg while shooting .532 from the floor... senior forward Orlando Collins is averaging a team-high 9.0 rpg while scoring 13.0 ppg and shooting .606 from the field... junior guard Jeremy Kilgore (12.8 ppg) and freshman guard Garrett Neilan (10.3 ppg) are also in double figures... Hope International is averaging 68.7 ppg and shooting .447 from the field while outrebounding the opposition by just over six rebounds per game... the Royals, an NAIA member of the Golden State Athletic Conference, is just one win away from last year's win total after HIU finished 12-18 overall and 3-15 in the GSAC.
HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH HOPE INTERNATIONAL: Cal State Fullerton has won all five meetings with Hope International, all coming in the last seven seasons... all five meetings have been played at Titan Gym... the Titans have not scored fewer than 93 points in the five meetings, averaging 100.2 ppg over that span and scoring more than 100 points twice while allowing no more than 73 points to the Royals (61.4 ppg).
VAUGHN ON WATCH LIST FOR COUSY AWARD: Cal State Fullerton senior guard Kwame Vaughn was today named as one of 85 players to the watch list for the 2013 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award handed out by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Vaughn is one of only 16 players on the list from west of the Rocky Mountains and the only player from the Big West Conference to be "watched." He joins a West Coast group of six players from the Pacific-12 Conference, four from the West Coast Conference, three from the Mountain West Conference, and two more from the Big Sky Conference.
The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men's college basketball. Previous winners of the award include Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph's - 2004), Raymond Felton (North Carolina - 2005), Dee Brown (Illinois - 2006), Acie Law (Texas A&M - 2007), D.J. Augustin (Texas - 2008), Ty Lawson (North Carolina - 2009), Greivis Vasquez (Maryland - 2010), Kemba Walker (Connecticut - 2011), and Kendall Marshall (North Carolina - 2012).
The watch list of candidates will be narrowed down to a group of 20 players around January 1, a collection of 10 around February 1, and the five finalists on March 1. The winner will be presented at the Hall of Fame's Class Announcement on Championship Monday in Atlanta as part of NCAA Final Four weekend.
For more information, please visit www.cousyaward.com.
SCINTILLATING SEELEY SELECTED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cal State Fullerton senior guard D.J. Seeley was selected the Big West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week after helping lift the Titans to a pair of wins last week against Idaho State and Texas Southern. Seeley, who was also selected the conference's player of the week by College Sports Madness, earned Big West honors for the second time in his career after averaging 19 points and shooting 59 percent from the field, eclipsing the 20-point plateau for the fourth time this season after pouring in 27 points in 34 minutes against Texas Southern. It is the second time in his Fullerton career that Seeley has been named to the Big West Conference weekly honor roll.
GOLDEN AGAINST THE GSAC: Saturday's game will be the second meeting with a GSAC school this season after posting a 106-60 win over San Diego Christian on Nov. 23... the Titans are 12-2 all-time against the conference's members, winning the last nine-straight meetings since a 75-63 loss to Westmont on Nov. 30, 1973... Among conference members, Fullerton is 1-0 vs. Biola, 1-0 vs. Concordia, 5-0 vs. Hope International, 1-0 vs. San Diego Christian, and 4-2 vs. Westmont.
BIG DAY IN HOUSTON KEEPS TITANS IN TOP FIVE: A 93-point showing against Texas Southern kept the Titans in the top five nationally in scoring entering the week, as their 83.2 ppg are at No. 5 in the NCAA (Indiana is No. 1 at 88.8 ppg). Fullerton also ranks in the top 10 in three-pointers per game (No. 6 at 9.0 pg) and free throw percentage (No. 7 at .781) and among the top 20 in three-point percentage (No. 11 at .405) and field goal percentage (No. 14 at .491).
SKID SNAPPED: Fullerton's win in Houston on Sunday ended a six-game road losing streak dating back to last February and marked the first non-conference road victory for the Titans since an 81-50 triumph over Utah on Dec. 7, 2011, in Salt Lake City.
NINETY'S NICE: Fullerton's 93 points in Sunday's win over Texas Southern marked the fourth time in five victories this season that the Titans have eclipsed the 90-point plateau. Fullerton, which reached 90 points six times in 31 games combined last season, is averaging 94.0 ppg in its victories this season while holding opponents to just 70.0 ppg.
NOT HALF BAD: Cal State Fullerton's 61-point second half at Texas Southern was its highest-scoring half of the year, helping the Titans rally from a halftime deficit for the first time in 2012-13. The performance eclipsed a 57-point first half against Southern Utah on Nov. 17 and is the best for a Fullerton squad since the Titans scored 70 points against Redlands in last year's season opener on Nov. 11, 2011.
10-FOR-10: Seniors D.J. Seeley and Kwame Vaughn remain as the only two Titans to reach double figures in all 10 games this season. Dating back to last season, Seeley, who tied a career high with 32 points against Southern Utah on Nov. 17, has reached double figures in his last 16 consecutive games while Vaughn, who has 20-or-more points four times this season, has a current streak of 14 games. Seeley's last single-digit game was on Feb. 18, 2011, against Montana State (6 points) while Vaughn's was on Feb. 25, 2011, at UC Davis (6 points).
TWENTY SOMETHING: Seeley's fourth 20-point game of the year moved him into a tie with teammate Kwame Vaughn and Cal State Northridge's Stephan Hicks for the league lead in the category while giving him 17 career 20-point games -- the most among active Big West players. Seeley and Vaughn (13 career 20-point games) are the only two active players in the league with 10-or-more such contests as Hicks stands third with nine entering the week.
MORE TWENTY-POINT TIDBITS: Last season, Fullerton was 17-5 when either Seeley (10-3) or Vaughn (7-2) scored at least 20 points, but the Titans are just 3-5 when that occurs in 2012-13... the duo has reached 20 points in the same game nine times during their Fullerton careers (eight of those coming last season and once this year), posting a 6-3 mark in those contests (5-0 at home, 1-2 on the road, and 0-1 on a neutral floor).
BRANDON OFF THE BENCH?: Although it may sound like a demotion, we mean it in the nicest of ways. Freshman Jared Brandon, who had started eight-straight contests since a bang-up debut at Stanford on Nov. 12, responded in a big way at Texas Southern last weekend, hitting 6-of-8 from the floor for 13 points and reached double digits for the third time this season -- the second time when coming in as a reserve. In two games off the bench, Brandon has hit 10-of-13 (.769) and 6-of-8 (.750) from the line while averaging 13.0 ppg.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A POINT MAKES: Score 80 points this season and the Titans have been very good, posting a 4-0 record when scoring at least that many points in 2012-13. Score 79 or fewer, however, and the Titans have been not so good, finishing 0-5 when at that mark or lower.
IN THE "CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR" CATEGORY: A fortuitous bounce here and there and Cal State Fullerton's record could look a whole lot different. Four of the Titans' five losses this season have come by single digits (a total of 11 points combined), including its last four-straight defeats.
WINNING COMFORTABLY: On the flip side of our previous note, although you only have to have one more point than the other team at the buzzer, the Titans have comfortably put away opponents in their five victories this season as four of the wins have come via double digits before last weekend's seven-point victory at Texas Southern.
#BULLSEYE: The marksmanship medal should go to the Titans early on in the 2012-13 season as Fullerton is, perhaps, the Big West Conference's best shooting team thus far, leading the league in field goal percentage (.491 to Pacific's .478) and a razor-thin lead in three-point percentage (.4054 to Pacific's .4052) while standing second in free throw percentage (.781 to Cal State Northridge's .788).
"AL" BE THERE: Our apologies to the "Jackson 5." Super sixth man Alex Harris received his first start of the season on Sunday at Texas Southern, providing the Titans with a solid nine-point, six-rebound performance. Although his nine points ended a string of three-straight double-digit scoring performances, the athletic six-foot-one sophomore has shown tremendous fight on the boards, leading or sharing the team lead in rebounding over the last three contests, averaging 6.0 rpg in that span.
D.J. GIVETH AND HE TAKETH AWAY: When not scoring, multi-faceted senior D.J. Seeley has also been doing the little things, entering the week ranked sixth in the conference in assists (4.10 apg) and leading the Big West in steals (2.60 spg). Seeley is one of only four players ranked in the top 10 in the league in both categories joined by teammate Kwame Vaughn (10th in assists, tied for 8th in steals), Cal State Northridge's Josh Greene (2nd in assists, tied for 3rd in steals), and Long Beach State's Mike Caffey (5th in assists, tied for 3rd in steals).
ALRIGHT, YOU'VE MADE YOUR POINT: With their win over San Diego Christian, the Titans improved to 53-1 all-time when scoring at least 100 points as the 106 points rank among the top 20 point totals in school history. Earlier this season, Cal State Fullerton's 112 points in a 43-point win over Southern Utah on Nov. 17 is tied for the sixth-highest point total in school history and the most for the Titans since they put up 118 points against Redlands just over a year ago to the day on Nov. 11, 2011. The record stands at 128 points against Chapman University on Jan. 8, 1972, in a 128-88 victory.
CENTURY CITY: Fullerton's 106 points against San Diego Christian College marked the second time this season that the Titans have reached triple digits on the scoreboard -- the fourth time in the last six seasons that they have accomplished that feat. Fullerton hasn't scored a 100 points in three games in a single season since the 2006-07 campaign when the Titans reached the century mark four times.
REAL STEAL REDUX: After scouring the record books, we were able to come up with another nugget for the Titans' 20-steal performance against Southern Utah on Nov. 17, as the total marked the most for the Fullerton defense since a 27-steal night against Lamar on Nov. 24, 1989, as part of a, 104-67, victory. The 20 swipes against Southern Utah were the most for a member of the Big West since Cal State Northridge finished with 24 swipes against Redlands on Nov. 15, 2006 and, of those 20 steals against the Thunderbirds, senior D.J. Seeley finished with nearly a third of the team's total as his career-high seven steals were just two shy of the school's single game record set by Cedric Ceballos against San Jose State on Jan. 19, 1989.