February 7, 2013

Three-Game TV Road Swing Tips-Off on Prime Ticket Saturday at UC Riverside

NEXT UP FOR THE TITANS...
Cal State Fullerton at UC Riverside
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 | 8:10 p.m.
Riverside, Calif.
SRC Arena (2,750)
TV: Fox Sports PrimeTicket
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Audio | Video | CSF Release Adobe PDF icon  | UCR Release 

TIP OFF: A string of three-consecutive televised road contests tip-off this weekend as the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team (11-11 overall, 4-6 in the Big West Conference for seventh place) heads east to take on UC Riverside in the Inland Empire on Saturday (Feb. 9) at 8 p.m. in front of a Fox Sports PrimeTicket audience. It will be the fourth appearance on television this season for the Titans, who have dropped their last three contests dating to a road win at UC Davis on Jan. 24.

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. Links will be made available on the men's basketball schedule page with veteran voice of the Titans, Mike Martinez, handling the play-by-play.

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.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!: Saturday will mark Fullerton's fourth appearance on some sort of television broadcast this season and its first on Fox Sports after two appearances on the Pac-12 Network and an ESPNU game... the Titans are 20-17 on television in the last seven-plus seasons -- including a 6-1 mark during the 2007-08 campaign -- and are scheduled to make at least two more TV appearances this season with the possibility of three more "wild card game" appearances at the end of the year... Fullerton is 1-2 on television thus far this season after falling at Stanford on Nov. 12 and at Washington on Dec. 2 before defeated UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 29 and is just 3-3 on TV dating back to last season.

TITANS DRAW TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI FOR BRACKETBUSTER: Cal State Fullerton will travel to the State of Texas on Saturday, Feb. 23, to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as part of the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters series, it was announced Monday (Feb. 4). Game time is scheduled for 11 a.m. Pacific Time from the Dugan Wellness Center on campus. The meeting will mark the second-ever between the Titans and the Islanders after Texas A&M-Corpus Christi handed Fullerton an, 83-76, defeat in the 2002-03 season opener on Nov. 22 at the Hawaiian Airlines Tip-Off Tournament in Honolulu. For more information on the event, please visit http://www.fullertontitans.com/sports/m-baskbl/2012-13/releases/20130204aoeqcz for the complete release.

SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS: Having dropped their last four consecutive games, UC Riverside enters the weekend with a 5-17 overall record and a 2-8 mark in Big West play for 10th place in the standings... the Highlanders haven't posted a victory since Jan. 19 in a 68-58 win over UC Irvine at home, having fallen to Pacific and UC Davis on the road and Hawaii and Cal State Northridge at home since then... three of UCR's last four losses have been decided by single digits... junior forward Chris Patton leads the offense, averaging 12.4 ppg and shooting .542 from the floor to go with 5.4 rpg... junior forward Chris Harriel (11.0 ppg) and freshman forward Josh Fox (10.2 ppg) are also averaging double figures while Fox leads the team in rebounding at 6.7 rpg... four of the Highlanders' five wins this year have come at home as UCR is just 1-9 away from SRC Arena... Riverside is averaging 60.9 ppg (10th in the Big West) and shooting .426 from the field (9th in the Big West) while opponents are averaging 67.8 ppg (4th in the Big West) and .431 shooting (6th in the Big West).

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH UC RIVERSIDE: The Titans lead the all-time series with the Highlanders, 25-17, having won three-straight in the series and 10 of the last 13... Fullerton is 7-5 all-time at the SRC Arena since the 2000-01 season, having won in its last three trips to the Inland Empire... the Titans' last loss at Riverside was in 2008-09 by a 63-60 count.

LAST TIME OUT -- HAWAII 77, CAL STATE FULLERTON 75: Christian Standhardinger scored 18 points to lead five Hawaii players in double figures and a late 13-2 run erased a 10-point deficit to help pace the Warriors to a, 77-75, victory. Kwame Vaughn scored 19 points to lead the Titans (11-11, 4-6) while Seeley finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals in 37 minutes. Sammy Yeager also added 17 points before fouling out with less than 30 seconds to play going after a loose ball in the lane after being stripped driving for the go-ahead basket with 30 seconds to play.

LAST TIME OUT VS. UC RIVERSIDE: Cal State Fullerton senior Kwame Vaughn's step-back jumper with less than two seconds to play found the bottom of the net as time expired on Jan. 12, lifting the host Titans to an edge-of-your-seat, 71-69, Big West Conference victory. Vaughn had been just 1-of-10 from the field to that point before driving left, pulling up and getting his defender in the air before stepping back and sinking a rainbow from six feet at the buzzer. Vaughn finished with 12 second-half points to go with four rebounds and three steals. Senior Sammy Yeager shared game-high honors with 19 points while D.J. Seeley (18), who also added five rebounds, six assists (against only one turnover), and five steals in 38 minutes, and Deuce Johnson (11) also finished in double digits.

FASTEST TO 1,000?: Senior D.J. Seeley needs only 40 points with nine regular season contests remaining to become the 21st player to reach 1,000 for his brief, but spectacular, Fullerton career, entering Saturday night's contest at UC Riverside with 960 points though 53 career games. However, he would not be the quickest Titan to the milestone as that honor belongs to the great Leon Wood, who played only three seasons for Cal State Fullerton from 1981-84, but reached 1,000 career points in just 46 games, edging out two-year stars Josh Akognon (2007-09) and Cedric Ceballos (1988-90) by a single contest. A complete top-10 list of the quickest Titans to 1,000 points is below:

1. Leon Wood -- 46 games 

t2. Josh Akognon -- 47 games 

t2. Cedric Ceballos -- 47 games 

4. Joe Small -- 54 games 

5. Mark Hill -- 56 games 

6. Ike Harmon -- 64 games

t7. Bobby Brown -- 66 games

t7. Pape Sow -- 66 games

9. Chris Dade -- 78 games

10. Frank Robinson -- 79 games 

TWO IN ONE YEAR?: Should both Seeley and Vaughn reach the 1,000-point plateau this season, they would become only the fifth pair in school history to accomplish the milestone in the same year:

• Keith Anderson (1,240), Kevin Heenan (1,163) & Mike Niles (1,014) in 1978-79

• Tony Neal (1,327) and Gary Davis (1,165) in 1984-85

• Cedric Ceballos (1,284) and Mark Hill (1,040) in 1989-90

• Agee Ward (1,017) and Joe Small (1,011) in 1991-92

THANK YOU, FANS!!: Homecoming night was a success for the Titans as Saturday's attendance of 3,978 fans was the largest crowd for a Cal State Fullerton home game since the Titans drew 4,205 against Long Beach State on Feb. 18, 2009. "The atmosphere was phenomenal," Interim Head Coach Andy Newman said. "The students, the alumni, everybody came back. It was a great job of getting that gym packed. It was a tremendous environment and it really helped our guys a lot. We only shot 26 percent from three and the crowd was worth 15-20 points tonight, no question. I really appreciate it, the guys appreciate it, and it was fun to see."

TITANS' OFFENSE HANGS TOUGH IN NCAA TOP THREE: Despite being held under 80 points for the 12th time in 22 games this season, the Titans held steady among the nation's top-three scoring offenses entering Saturday night's game as Fullerton ranks No. 3 in the NCAA at 81.9 ppg -- one of only four teams entering this week averaging better than 80 points per game, joining Northwestern State (83.9 ppg), Indiana (83.8 ppg), and Iona (81.8 ppg).

ELSEWHERE IN THE NATION: Fullerton also ranks among the top five teams in the NCAA in free throw percentage (3rd, .778) while standing in the top 10 in three-pointers per game (8th, 8.9 pg) and total points (8th, 1802 points). The Titans are also among the top 25 teams in the nation in field goal percentage (14th, .486), three-point percentage (15th, .396), assists (22nd, 16.0 apg), and turnover margin (20th, +3.6).

THREE-HEADED SCORING MONSTER: Cal State Fullerton remains as the only school to have three players among the Big West Conference's top 10 in scoring entering the night as D.J. Seeley (2nd, 19.2 ppg), Kwame Vaughn (3rd, 18.3 ppg), and Sammy Yeager (9th, 15.4 ppg) all make the cut while both Seeley (No. 23) and Vaughn (No. 41) also rank among the top 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).

ENOUGH TO GO AROUND: Seeley, Vaughn, and Yeager have all reached double figures in points in the same game 15 times in 22 games this season, including the trio all reaching at least 20 points in both games against Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5 at The Matadome as part of a 105-86 Fullerton victory on on Jan. 31 at Titan Gym in a six-point loss. Together, the trio has combined to score almost 65 percent (1,163 of 1,802) of the team's points this season.

STILL MISSING IT BY THAT MUCH: In the "close, but no cigar" category, Cal State Fullerton continues to struggle in close contests as Saturday's two-point loss to Hawaii marked its third-straight single-digit defeat, the eighth time in 11 losses this season that the Titans have fallen by nine points or fewer, and the fourth time this season that Fullerton has had a game decided by only two points.

NINE IS FINE FOR KWAME AND DJ: With their 28 and 22-point nights, respectively on Jan. 31 against Matadors, both Kwame Vaughn and D.J. Seeley notched their league-leading ninth games of 20-or-more points this season, breaking a tie with Northridge's Stephan Hicks (who missed the game due to injury) and UC Davis' Corey Hawkins. Seeley leads all active Big West players with 22 career 20-point games while Vaughn is second with 18 of his own, both standing among a select group of four players in double digits in that career category (Hicks has 13 while UC Irvine's Daman Starring has 10).

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 6-7 when that occurs in 2012-13. The duo has reached 20 points in the same game 13 times during their Fullerton careers (eight of those coming last season and five times this year), posting an 8-5 mark in those contests (5-1 at home, 3-3 on the road, and 0-1 on a neutral floor).

MINUTE MEN: With the Titans' regular rotation down to just seven players, Cal State Fullerton's senior backcourt duo of Kwame Vaughn and D.J. Seeley, along with senior Sammy Yeager and sophomore Alex Harris, have had to log a lot of minutes as of late. Vaughn, who has played at least 35 minutes in 14 of the team's 22 games overall (including nine of the last 12), enters the night ranked atop the league at 34.5 mpg while Seeley, who has nine games of 35 minutes or more -- and has reached that mark in six of his last eight -- is fourth at 33.6 mpg. Yeager, who has played at least 35 minutes in six of his last nine, is tied for seventh in the conference at 31.7 mpg while Harris enters the week ranked No. 10 in the category at 31.3 mpg.

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS: Just a small blip in the box score when it comes right down to it, but a little bit of a "first" for junior "Deuce" Johnson, who logged his first assist at the Division I level on Saturday against Hawaii. Johnson did also fill up some other categories, finishing with nine points and matching Fullerton career high's with seven rebounds and 30 minutes against the Warriors

#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. The Titans lead the league in all three shooting categories entering the weekend: field goal percentage (.486 to UC Davis' .474), three-point percentage (.396 to UC Davis' .392), and free throw percentage (.778 to UC Davis' .733).

EIGHT(Y) IS GREAT(Y)...: What a difference a point makes. Cal State Fullerton is a stellar 8-2 this season when scoring at least 80 points this season compared to just 3-9 when scoring 79 points or fewer.

...AND NINETY IS NICE...: Fullerton's 95 points in its win at UC Davis marked the sixth time in 11 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 89.8 ppg in its 11 victories this season while holding opponents to just 72.6 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 Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5 -- 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.

NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH: But there are such things as free points if you're Kwame Vaughn. The Titans' senior finished 11-for-12 at the line on Jan. 31 against the Matadors -- the fourth time this season he has had double-digit makes from the stripe -- and added four more against Hawaii to increase his league-leading total to 123 free throws made. Vaughn ranks third in the Big West in free throw percentage at .854, a total that would rank him fourth on the school's single-season list, while his career mark of .851 entering the night would be the third-best in school history.

DIALING LONG DISTANCE: Senior Sammy Yeager, the Big West's third-best three-point shooter in terms of percentage, in also one of the nation's best sharpshooters as his .451 mark from beyond the arc also has him ranked No. 9 in the nation entering this week.

CAN'T NOBODY HOLD HIM DOWN: Since being held to a season-low five points against UC Irvine on Jan. 17, Seeley is averaging 22.4 ppg over his last five contests while shooting .477 (42-for-88) from the floor, .432 (16-for-37) from behind the arc, and snagging 6.4 rpg. He has scored at least 20 points in three of his last four games, including his third, 30-point game of the year at UC Davis (32 points on 11-of-16 from the floor).

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 three players to do so entering the night, along with Long Beach State's Mike Caffey. Seeley leads the league in steals at 2.4 spg and ranks ninth in assists at 3.9 apg, while Vaughn stands fifth in assists (4.1 apg) and tied for fourth in steals (1.7 spg).

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 and continues to rehab his injury with hopes of returning to game shape this 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 16 games due to an injury he suffered in December.