February 15, 2013

Titans in Prime Time on Prime Ticket Saturday at UC Irvine

UP NEXT FOR THE TITANS
Cal State Fullerton at UC Irvine
Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 | 8 p.m.
Irvine, Calif.
Bren Events Center (5,000)
TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Talent: Paul Sunderland, Michael Cage & Kelli Tennant
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Audio | Video | CSF Release Adobe PDF icon  | UCI Release 

TIP OFF: With just two wins in its last eight contests, the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team (12-12 overall, 5-7 in the Big West Conference) closes out a three-game road swing on Saturday night (Feb. 16) at 8 p.m. as the Titans travel to Orange County rival UC Irvine for a Fox Sports Prime Ticket audience at the Bren Events Center.

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?: Saturday's game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket (check your local listings) as well as streamed live on Big West TV.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!: Saturday's game at UC Irvine will mark Fullerton's sixth appearances on some sort of television broadcast this season -- its final "scheduled" appearance with the possibility of three "wild card game" appearances at the end of the year... the Titans are 21-18 on television in the last seven-plus seasons -- including a 6-1 mark during the 2007-08 campaign... Fullerton is 2-3 on television thus far this season after falling at Stanford on Nov. 12 and at Washington on Dec. 2 on the Pac-12 Network and last Thursday at Long Beach State on ESPNU while defeating UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 29 on ESPNU and UC Riverside on Feb. 9 on Fox Sports Prime Ticket... the Titans are just 4-4 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 ANTEATERS: UC Irvine enters the weekend with a 13-13 overall record and a 7-6 mark in Big West Conference play after holding off UC Riverside, 52-48, on Wednesday night at home... the Anteaters are 9-1 at home this season (3-11 away), including a perfect 6-0 in Big West play, having not lost since a 66-60 setback against LSU on Dec. 18... Daman Starring leads the UCI offense, averaging 13.2 ppg and shooting .416 from the floor and .418 from beyond the arc... Will Davis II leads the team on the glass at 6.3 rpg and has 54 blocks on the year while shooting .538 from the field.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH UC IRVINE: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with UC Irvine, 52-44, but lost the last outing by a 92-65 count at Titan Gym earlier this season on Jan. 17, ending a three-game home winning streak... the Anteaters have won the last two meetings with the Titans dating back to last season's Big West Tournament when UCI posted a 65-59 win in the first round... Fullerton is just 14-12 against Irvine at the Bren Center (dating back to the 1977-78 season), winning last year's shootout by a 92-84 count... the Titans have won four of their last six trips to South Orange County, but are just 5-5 in the last 10.

HI, MOM!: Cal State Fullerton's three biggest scoring stars have shone just as bright in five televised games this season, but none brighter than senior Sammy Yeager, who is averaging team highs in scoring (20.4 ppg) while shooting .529 (37-for-70) from the floor and .561 (23-for-41) from beyond the arc. Seniors D.J. Seeley (17.0 ppg) and Kwame Vaughn (16.8 ppg) are also in double figures, but the Titans are averaging just 74.0 ppg (7.1 ppg lower than their season average overall) and shooting .438 from the field while allowing 77.2 ppg and .477 shooting from the floor by the opposition.

NINE TIMES? NINE TIMES...: That's all senior D.J. Seeley needs to reach the 1,000-point milestone, entering Saturday's contest at UC Irvine with 991 career points in 55 career games in a standout two seasons with the Titans. Should he reach the mark, he would be the first Fullerton player since Josh Akognon in 2009 to reach the plateau and stands just 20 points back of Joe Small (1990-92), who ranks No. 20 on the all-time scoring list with 1,011 career points.

FASTEST TO 1,000?: Should Seeley get his nine points to reach 1,000 for his career, he would be ONE of the quickest in school history to the mark, but he would not be THE quickest. 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 fellow senior Kwame Vaughn (917 career points) 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

TITANS' OFFENSE HANGS TOUGH IN NCAA TOP THREE: Despite being held under 80 points for the 14th time in 24 games this season, the Titans held steady among the nation's top-five scoring offenses entering Saturday night's game as Fullerton ranks No. 4 in the NCAA at 81.1 ppg -- one of only four teams entering this week averaging better than 80 points per game, joining Northwestern State (84.1 ppg), Indiana (82.9 ppg), and Iona (82.6 ppg).

ELSEWHERE IN THE NATION: Fullerton also ranks among the top five teams in the NCAA in free throw percentage (2nd, .785 -- Davidson is first at .811) while standing in the top 10 in three-pointers per game (7th, 9.0 pg). The Titans are also among the top 25 teams in the nation in field goal percentage (17th, .480), total points (15th, 1946 points), three-point percentage (20th, .390), assists (23rd, 15.8 apg), and turnover margin (16th, +3.8).

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, 18.9 ppg), Kwame Vaughn (3rd, 18.0 ppg), and Sammy Yeager (7th, 16.1 ppg) all make the cut while both Seeley (No. 29) and Vaughn (No. 48) 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).

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 15 of the team's 24 games overall (including 10 of the last 14), enters the night ranked atop the league at 34.7 mpg while Seeley, who has 10 games of 35 minutes or more -- and has reached that mark in seven of his last 10 -- is third at 33.4 mpg. Yeager, who has played at least 35 minutes in seven of his last 11, is seventh in the conference at 32.0 mpg while Harris enters the week ranked No. 10 in the category at 31.5 mpg.

BRANDON BOARDS: Freshman Jared Brandon did a bang-up job on the glass at Long Beach State on Wednesday night, setting a new career high with 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, and becoming only the second Titan to hit double digits in that category this season.

SPEAKING OF REBOUNDING: Despite being outrebounded by 19 on the night, the Titans accomplished a "moral victory" of sorts on the glass against the 49ers, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds to tie a season high set at Washington on Dec. 2 in Seattle. It marked only the ninth time in 24 games that the Titans have reached double digits in offensive rebounds and the first since grabbing 10 at UC Davis on Jan. 24.

AWW, SHOOT!!: Cal State Fullerton was held to a season-low 35.3 percent shooting from the field at Long Beach State on Wednesday, dropping the Titans to just 3-10 this year when shooting under 50 percent for the game and an 0-5 mark when hitting on less than 40 percent. On the flip side, Fullerton is 9-1 when shooting above that mark and 10-2 when outshooting its opponent this season.

TITANS IN NEED OF A BETTER HALF: Despite rallying to tie the game against Long Beach State in the early part of the second half on Wednesday night, the Titans' high-octane offense was limited to just 29 points after the break against the 49ers -- the eighth time in 48 halves (and the third time in the last four games overall) that has happened this year. Fullerton is just 2-6 when held to less than 30 points in a period in 2012-13 and the 29 points are tied for the fourth lowest in a half this season.

GOTTA GET OUT IN FRONT: Wednesday night at Long Beach State marked the second time this season that Fullerton has not held a lead in a game, both of those coming in the team's last four games after it also happened in a six-point lost to Cal State Northridge on Jan. 31 at home.

STREAKING SAMMY: Since being held to just six points at Pacific on Jan. 26 to snap an eight-game double-digit scoring streak, Yeager has seemingly regained his scoring touch, averaging 21.5 ppg, shooting 52 percent (31-for-60) from the field, and hitting nearly half (15-for-33) of his shots from beyond the arc in that span.

SEVEN FOR SEELEY: Seeley has been on a scoring rampage as well, hitting double figures in the points column in each of his last seven contests -- the longest active streak of any Titan -- averaging a team-high 20.4 ppg and 5.4 rpg in that span while shooting .451 (51-for-113) from the floor and .412 (21-for-51) from beyond the arc. 

THE DISH: Vaughn has had at least six assists in four of his last seven games (and six times overall this season), averaging 4.57 apg in that span and committing only 19 turnovers against 32 helpers overall (1.68 assist-to-turnover ratio). The senior entered the week ranked third among active players in the Big West with 212 career assists and stands just seven shy of Kevin Henderson (1983-86) for 15th on the school's all-time list.

YEAGER... FOR THREE!: Sammy Yeager is getting closer to etching his name into the Fullerton record books for his three-point shooting prowess as his 65 makes from beyond the arc this season stand just five shy of the top 15 and 10 back of Joe Small (1990-91) and Mark Hill (1988-89) for the No. 10 spot. The single-season record is held by Josh Akognon, who made 136 three's in 2008-09 and added 116 more in 2007-08 to rank second. If the season ended today, Yeager's percentage of .458 from beyond the arc would also be a school single-season record (minimum 50 made), breaking the mark set by Don Leary (.443, 89-for-201) in 1992-93.

STOP THIEF!!: With two more steals, D.J. Seeley, who stands atop the Big West charts with 2.2 spg this season and ranks tied for 10th on the school's single-season list with 53 steals overall this season, will become only the 15th player in the history of the program to log 100 for his career and the first to break into the top 15 since Frank Robinson (2005-08) finished with 122 for his career (#10 overall) in 2008.

ENOUGH TO GO AROUND: Seeley, Vaughn, and Yeager have all reached double figures in points in the same game 17 times in 24 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 better than 65 percent (1,273 of 1,946) of the team's points this season.

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 three more at Long Beach State to increase his league-leading total to 131 free throws made (which also stands tied for eighth on the school's single-season list). Vaughn ranks second in the Big West in free throw percentage at .856, a total that would rank him fourth on the school's single-season list, while his career mark of .852 entering the night would be the third-best in school history.

NEWS AT 10: With his 21 points at UC Riverside on Feb. 9, D.J. Seeley notched his 10th game of 20-or-more points -- tied for the top spot in the Big West this season with UC Davis' Corey Hawkins. Seeley leads all active Big West players with 23 career 20-point games while Vaughn is second with 18 of his own, both standing among a select group of five players in double digits in that career category (Cal State Northridge's Stephan Hicks has 13 while Hawkins and UC Irvine's Daman Starring have 10 apiece).

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 7-7 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).

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 4-10 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).

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 18 games due to an injury he suffered in December.