January 19, 2013

Rivalry Renewed as 49ers Visit Titan Gym on Saturday

ON TAP FOR THE TITANS...
Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton
Saturday, January 19, 2013 | 6:05 p.m.
Fullerton, Calif.
Titan Gym (4,000)
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Audio | Video | CSF Release Adobe PDF icon  | LBSU Release

SERIES RECORDS
Overall: LBSU Leads, 60-43 (Won 1)
at Titan Gym: 24-17 (Won 3)
at Fullerton JC: 3-1 (Won 3)
at LBSU Campus Gym: 3-14 (Lost 4)
at Long Beach Arena: 5-10 (Lost 2)
at Anaheim Convention Ctr.: 2-5 (Lost 4)
at Great Western Forum: 0-1 (Lost 1)
at Walter Pyramid: 6-12 (Lost 2)

TIP OFF: There's no time to waste for the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team (10-7 overall, 3-2 in the Big West Conference) as the Titans must find a way to rebound from a difficult loss to Orange County rival UC Irvine when league-leading and long-time rival Long Beach State visits Titan Gym on Saturday. Tip off is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans' athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF.Athletics) and Twitter (@FullertonTitans).

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.

CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?: Live streaming video for Saturday's game will be shown for free via Big West TV. To access the links, please visit the men's basketball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: Get out your local listings, the Titans' schedule has undergone a couple changes over the next two months. Due to the resolution of the NHL lockout, Cal State Fullerton's Homecoming game against Hawaii on Feb. 2 will no longer be televised by Fox Sports West to avoid conflicts with an Anaheim Ducks broadcast. Tip-off for the game, however, will remain at 8 p.m., so as not to affect previously scheduled Homecoming festivites. Also, Fullerton's possible ESPN wild card game at UC Santa Barbara will now tip-off at 8 p.m., if selected to be televised by the network.

SCOUTING THE 49ERS: Long Beach State enters the weekend with a 9-8 record and a conference-best 5-1 mark after rebounding from a game-tying shot at the buzzer to beat UC Riverside in overtime, 91-82, on Thursday night... it was the fourth-consecutive win for the 49ers, whose only loss in league play came against Cal Poly on the road (79-73) on Jan. 3... all six of Long Beach State's conference contests have been decided by nine points or fewer... senior James Ennis leads the team at 16.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this season, shooting .455 from the field and blocking 30 shots... sophomore Mike Caffey (12.4 ppg, 4.41 apg) and junior Tony Freeland (10.3 ppg) are also in double figures... Long Beach State is averaging 69.2 ppg and shooting .428 from the floor for the season as a team while allowing 73.9 ppg and .440 shooting from the field.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH LONG BEACH STATE: The 49ers lead the all-time series with the Titans, 60-43, but Fullerton is 24-17 against Long Beach State at Titan Gym, having won three-straight... the two teams have split the regular season series in each of the last two seasons, but the Titans have won seven of the last 10 meetings dating back to the 2007-08 season... the last four games at Titan Gym have been decided by single digits, including a 77-74 win last season that spoiled the 49ers' bid for a perfect conference season, ended a 23-game conference winning streak, and an 11-game conference road winning streak for Long Beach State.

LAST TIME OUT -- UC IRVINE 92, CAL STATE FULLERTON 65: UC Irvine's Chris McNealy scored a game-high 21 points and the Anteaters shot 57 percent from the field to hand the Titans their worst loss of the year, 92-65. Kwame Vaughn had 15 points to lead four Fullerton players in double figures, but the Titans were held to a season-low 38 percent from the field and could not overcome a 23-point first-half deficit, outscored by a 31-9 count at one point during a 13-minute span in the opening period. 

LONG-TIME RIVALS: The Titans and 49ers will meet for the 104th time in the history of the two programs on Saturday, the longest-running rivalry in Cal State Fullerton men's basketball history in terms of games played, just edging out UC Irvine and the 96 games between the Anteaters and Titans.

17-FOR-17: Senior Kwame Vaughn stands alone as the only Titan to reach double digits in all 17 games this season. Dating back to last year, Vaughn's streak now stands at 21 consecutive games with his last single-digit performance against UC Davis on Feb. 25, 2012 (6 points). The closest he has come to seeing the streak end this season was on Jan. 12 against UC Riverside when Vaughn needed 12 second-half points to keep it alive -- including a step-back jumper as time expired to win the game (video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MmnEKFi3VQ). The fewest points scored during his 21-game streak were 10 against Long Beach State on March 3, 2012, in a 77-74 Fullerton win.

QUITE A LOSS: Fullerton's 27-point loss to UC Irvine on Jan. 17 was one point more than their previous six losses combined (26) to that point this season. The loss was the worst at home since a 70-43 defeat to San Francisco on Nov. 19, 2001, and was also the worst Big West loss for the Titans since a 77-44 defeat at UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 31, 2004.

JOHNSON GOES BACK-TO-BACK IN SCORING COLUMN: Fullerton junior "Deuce" Johnson has put together a pair of offensive performances in back-to-back games for the first time this season, finishing with 10 points on 5-of-7 from the field against UC Irvine after adding 11 points and five boards in a win over UC Riverside on Jan. 12. Johnson, who has reached double figures five times this season, has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in every game but one this season and is 21-for-33 (.636) from the field since his career-high 14-point outing at Hawaii on Jan. 3.

KNOX PROVIDES BOOST IN LIMITED TIME: Senior guard Jordan Knox gave the Titans a bit of a lift off the bench on Thursday against UC Irvine, hitting both of his shots and tying his career high with five points in 11 minutes against the Anteaters. The 17 points scored in eight games this season by Knox are the first of his career after the senior, who is 7-of-10 from the field this season and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, went scoreless in eight contests as a junior after transferring from Las Positas JC for the 2011-12 season.

OFFENSE STILL RANKS AMONG NATION'S BEST: Despite an off night offensively for the Titans against UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton retained its hold on the No. 3 spot in scoring in the NCAA as of Jan. 18, as the Titans' 82.8 ppg are mere percentage points ahead of Mississippi (82.813 ppg to Fullerton's 82.823 ppg). The Titans, who are one of only eight teams to average better than 80 points entering the weekend, trails Indiana (85.4 ppg) and Northwestern State (83.9 ppg) for the moniker of the highest-scoring team in the nation while continuing to rank among the NCAA's top 10 in three other categories as of Jan. 18: free throw percentage (4th, .777), three-point field goals per game (7th, 8.9 pg), and field goal percentage (8th, .496). Cal State Fullerton also stands No. 13 in three-point percentage (.405) and No. 15 in total points (1,408).

POTENT 1-2-8 PUNCH: Cal State Fullerton is the only school to have three players among the Big West Conference's top 10 in scoring entering the weekend as Kwame Vaughn (1st, 18.6 ppg), D.J. Seeley (2nd, 18.3 ppg), and Sammy Yeager (8th, 15.1 ppg) all make the cut. This is the fourth consecutive week that a Titan has led the conference in scoring (Seeley on Dec. 24, Vaughn on Dec. 31, and Seeley in each of the last two weeks) while both Vaughn (No. 34) and Seeley (No. 44) also rank among the top 50 in the nation in that category. The last Titan to lead the league in scoring was Josh Akognon (23.9 ppg) in 2009 -- one of only three Fullerton players to have paced the Big West in that category since 1970: Leon Wood in 1984 (24.0 ppg), Cedric Ceballos in 1989 (21.2 ppg) and 1990 (23.1 ppg), and Ralphy Holmes in 2005 (16.9 ppg).

NELSON CLEARED TO RETURN TO PRACTICE: The Cal State Fullerton coaching staff got a bit of good news when sophomore forward Darius Nelson was medically cleared to return to practice after recovering from foot surgery performed prior to the start of the 2012-13 season. Nelson would provide much-needed depth to the Titans' frontcourt which lost senior John Underwood to a leave of absence in November and Marquis Horne for the last 11 games due to injury in December.

MINUTE MEN: With the Titans' rotation down to just seven players, Cal State Fullerton's senior backcourt duo of Kwame Vaughn and D.J. Seeley, along with sophomore Alex Harris, have had to log a lot of minutes as of late. Vaughn, who has played at least 35 minutes in five of his last six games and 10 times overall, enters the weekend ranked first in the league at 34.4 mpg while Seeley, who has five games of 35 minutes or more, is fifth at 32.5 mpg. Harris, who has started the team's last eight games, is 10th in the league at 30.8 mpg, logging a career-high 36 minutes in three of the last four games.

SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALRIGHT FOR WINNING: Fullerton's victory over UC Riverside on Jan. 12 improved Cal State Fullerton to 5-0 this season on Saturday's -- one of two unbeaten nights of the week for the Titans thus far (Fullerton is 1-0 on Wednesdays after its win at Bakersfield).

WINNING COMFORTABLY...: 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 10 victories this season as seven of the wins have come via double digits with the only "blemishes" being a pair of seven-point wins at Texas Southern on Dec. 16 and against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 29 along with a two-point win over UC Riverside on Jan. 12.

#BULLSEYE: The marksmanship medal should go to the Titans thus far this season as Fullerton is, perhaps, the best-shooting team in the Big West Conference. The Titans lead the league in all three shooting categories entering the weekend: field goal percentage (.496 to Pacific's .469), three-point percentage (.405 to Cal Poly's .366), and free throw percentage (.777 to Cal State Northridge's .736).

DIALING LONG DISTANCE: Yeager, the Big West's third-best three-point shooter in terms of percentage, in also one of the nation's best as his .474 mark from beyond the arc also has him ranked No. 10 in the nation entering this weekend.

THEY GIVETH AND THEY TAKETH AWAY: When not scoring, multi-faceted senior guards D.J. Seeley and Kwame Vaughn have also been doing the little things, entering the week ranked among the league's top 10 in both assists and steals -- two of only five players to do so entering the week, joining Cal Poly's Jamal Johnson, Long Beach State's Mike Caffey, and Cal State Northridge's Josh Greene. Seeley leads the league at 2.4 spg and ranks fourth at 4.1 apg while Vaughn is seventh in assists (3.8 apg) and sixth in steals (1.6 spg).

EIGHT(Y) IS GREAT(Y)...: What a difference a point makes. Fullerton suffered its first loss of the season when scoring more than 80 points in a game after falling 90-88 at Hawaii on Jan. 3, but the Titans are still a stellar 7-1 this season when hitting the mark compared to just 3-6 when scoring 79 points or fewer.

...AND NINETY IS NICE...: Fullerton's 105 points in its win at Cal State Northridge marked the fifth time in 10 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 89.3 ppg in its 10 victories this season while holding opponents to just 71.1 ppg in those contests.

...BUT A HUNDRED IS HEAVENLY: The Titans reached the 100-point plateau for the third time this season with their 105 points against the Matadors -- the first time that Fullerton has surpassed the 100-point plateau three times in a single-season since the 2006-07 campaign when the Titans reached the century mark four times against Cal Maritime (W, 108-56), Eastern Washington (L, 110-100), San Jose State (W, 104-77), and Pacific (W, 100-92 in 2OT).

ALRIGHT, YOU'VE MADE YOUR POINT: With the win at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5, the Titans improved to 54-1 all-time when scoring at least 100 points as the 105 points against the Matadors rank among the top 25 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 while the 106 points scored against San Diego Christian on Nov. 23 are tied for No. 20. Fullerton's single-game record stands at 128 points against Chapman University on Jan. 8, 1972, in a 128-88 victory.

HEY MR. D.J.: Seeley's Big West-best 37-point performance against Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5 is tied for the fifth-highest single-game total in school history, matching Kwame Vaughn's 37 points against UC Santa Barbara last season and Josh Akognon's 37-point night against UC Riverside in 2009. The total eclipsed his previous career and conference best of 32 points set earlier this year against Southern Utah on Nov. 17 and marked the third time in his Titans career that he has reached 30 points in a game after also scoring 32 in the 2011-12 season finale at LMU on March 14. 

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 5-5 when that occurs in 2012-13... the duo has reached 20 points in the same game 12 times during their Fullerton careers (eight of those coming last season and three times this year), posting a 7-5 mark in those contests (5-0 at home, 2-4 on the road, and 0-1 on a neutral floor)... Seeley has the most career 20-point games of any active player in the Big West (19) and is just one of three in double figures along with teammate Vaughn (16) and Northridge's Stephan Hicks (12)... Vaughn and Hicks share the league lead with seven, 20-point games this season.