Titans Host Highlanders in Big West Opener

Titans Host Highlanders in Big West Opener

UC Riverside (5-9) at Cal State Fullerton (5-9)
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2013 | 7:00 PM
Titan Gym • Fullerton, Calif.

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Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at www.fullertontitans.com


ON TAP: Cal State Fullerton begins Big West Conference play at 7 p.m. on Thursday hosting UC Riverside at Titan Gym.


PROMOTIONS - YOUTH NIGHT: Cal State Fullerton returns to Titan Gym on Thursday hosting  UC Riverside in the first Big West Conference game of the season. The game will also serve as Youth Night at Titan Gym as all youth ages 12 and under will receive free admission to Titan Gym.


TICKETS: Single-game tickets for all home games can be purchased online at www.FullertonTitans.com as well as in person or by calling the Cal State Fullerton Athletics Ticket Office at (657) 278-2783 from the hours of 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. On gamedays, tickets can be purchased one hour prior to tip-off at the Titan Gym ticket box office.


SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @FullertonHoops for updates during the 2013-14 season.

SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS:  UC Riverside opens Big West Conference play with the same non-conference record as Cal State Fullerton, 5-9. The Highlanders average 67.1 points per game led by Chris Patton (12.8 ppg) and Taylor Johns (12.4 ppg).  UCR shoots 43.1 percent from the floor, and the team is outrebounded by a slim margin (35.3-34.7). UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton played four similar opponents against Pepperdine, Montana State, Seattle and Sacramento State this year. The Titans finished with a record of 3-2 against that group of teams - falling to Seattle twice. UCR finished with a record 1-3 against that group.


HEAD-TO-HEAD VS. UC RIVERSIDE:  Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series against UC Riverside, 26-17, including a 15-7 mark at home and a 15-9 mark in league play. Fullerton has won its last four meetings against the Highlanders. The last meeting was a 79-67 Fullerton win in Riverside on Feb. 9, 2013, and the last time the Highlanders visited Titan Gym, then-senior Kwame Vaughn's step-back jumper with less than two seconds to play found the bottom of the net as time expired lifting the Titans to an edge-of-your-seat, 71-69, Big West Conference victory over UC Riverside on Jan. 12, 2013.


BIG WEST OPENERS:  Cal State Fullerton holds a record 13-26 in Big West Conference openers. The Titans have won their last two league openers with both games played at Titan Gym against UC Davis (65-64; Dec. 29, 2011) and UC Santa Barbara (86-79; Dec. 29, 2012).


ROSTER STATUS: Cal State Fullerton currently has 16 student-athletes listed on its roster, with 12 players having seen game action thus far in 2013-14. Corey Walker and Moses Morgan must redshirt the season due to NCAA transfer rules. Freshman guard Hidde Vos and junior guard James Douglas are expected to redshirt the season.


INJURY STATUS: Jared Brandon is listed as day-to-day with a left ankle injury.


EARLY SEASON NOTES: Head coach Dedrique Taylor earned his first win as a head coach after the Titans defeated Montana State, 84-55, in Bozeman, Mont., on Nov. 9…Taylor is the fifth Titan head coach to win his first game at Cal State Fullerton…Cal State Fullerton won its season opener against a Division I opponent for the first time since a 75-67 win at BYU on Nov. 22, 1996 (the 2007-08 season opener was played against CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners as the program was in transition to Div. I status)…Cal State Fullerton's 29-point victory at Montana State was its largest margin of victory on the road since an 81-50 win at Utah on Dec. 7, 2011.


CURRENT NOTES: Cal State Fullerton has utilized six different starting lineups during the season...Fullerton completed non-conference action with a record of 5-9...the Titans have won their last two home games...Fullerton overcame a 10-point deficit against Sacramento State on Dec. 21 – the largest deficit the Titans have overcome this year...Fullerton's 59-point total against Sacramento State marked its lowest in a win this year…the Titans are 4-0 when scoring over 78 points and shooting over 50 percent from the floor, and in the win over Sacramento State, for the first time Fullerton won a game this year scoring less than 60 points, shooting less than 50.0 percent from the floor and having less than three scorers reach double figures...Fullerton has also come back twice this season from halftime deficits to win: at Pepperdine (Dec. 4) and vs. Sacramento State (Dec. 21)...the Titans have not held a lead in a game six times this season...Cal State Fullerton was whistled for a season-high 25 fouls at UNLV on Dec. 28.


INDIVIDUAL MARKERS: Michael Williams has scored in double figures in a team-leading 14 consecutive games. He has led the Titans in scoring in eight of Fullerton's last 10 games...Williams scored a game-high 24 points against Texas Southern (Dec. 15), which also marked a Titan season high. In addition, Williams' 18 second-half points were the most a Titan has scored in a single half this year, and his four made three-pointers also set a Titan season high in that game. Williams has scored at least 20 points on three occasions this year. Alex Harris scored a season-high 21 points against Texas Southern on Dec. 15 as the Titans had two players scoring 20 points or more in a game for the first time since March 9, 2013 vs. Cal Poly.  Harris' nine made free throws were also a Titan season best as well as career high...Steve McClellan's 12-point, 10-rebound performance against Seattle (Dec. 7) marked the first Titan double-double of the season. In addition, McClellan's 12 rebounds are also a Titan season high.


IN THE BIG WEST: Entering the week, Cal State Fullerton's 24.50 defensive rebounds per game rank third in the Big West Conference...Michael Williams' average of 15.2 points per game ranks seventh in the league, and his 1.93  three-pointers per game rank eighth...Josh Gentry's .412 three-point field goal percentage ranks sixth in the Big West and Marquis Horne's three-point field goal percentage of .378 ranks eighth in the Big West...Steve McClellan's 2.36 offensive rebounds per game rank ninth in the Big West Conference.


WIN-LOSS COMPARISONS:  Cal State Fullerton has shot a higher percentage than opponents in each of its five wins, while shooting a percentage lower than opponents in each of its nine losses...in five wins, the Titans have shot 51.4 percent from the floor while averaging 78.8 points per game. Also in those wins, Fullerton holds a 37.2-32.8 rebounding advantage and holds opponents to a shooting percentage of .372 and an average of 64.6 points per game.


In nine losses this season, Fullerton is shooting a field goal percentage of .381 while averaging just 59.8 points per game while opponents average 73.0 ppg and shoot at a clip of .475. In addition, opponents outrebound CSF 36.4-34.2.


MORE COMPARISONS:  The Titans have outscored opponents 412-364 in the paint this year as well as holding an advantage in bench points (297-259), but trail opponents in second chance points (140-150). In losses, the Titans have made just 165 trips to the free-throw line, compared to 233 opportunities for opponents.


ROOKIES:  On Nov. 29 at the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy, Fullerton suffered a 48-46 heartbreaking loss to Miami, which saw the Titans nearly erase a 17-point deficit. In that game, head coach Dedrique Taylor inserted freshmen Sheldon Blackwell and Joe Boyd into the starting lineup. 

Blackwell, a 6-foot-5 guard from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is leading the Titans with 36 assists while averaging 6.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Blackwell scored a career high 14 points at USC on Nov. 19 and dished a career-best six assists vs. Miami on Nov. 29.

Boyd, a 6-foot-9 forward from Scottsdale, Ariz., is averaging 3.8 ppg while adding 3.9 rpg. Boyd scored a career-high 10 points in Fullerton's 87-80 win over Texas Southern on Dec. 15, and recorded 10 rebounds at USC on Nov. 19.


NEWCOMERS:  Cal State Fullerton senior Michael Williams is playing in his first year as a Titan after redshirting the 2012-13 season following a transfer from San Francisco.

Williams has experienced immediate success, averaging a team-leading 15.2 points per game, scoring in double figures in 14 straight games and leading the Titans in scoring in eight of their last 10.

Williams has also scored at least 20 points on three occasions this season.

Junior Josh Gentry, in his first season with the Titans after transferring from Trinity Valley Community College, has reached double figures off the bench in Fullerton's last two games, scoring a total of 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting including knocking down four three-pointers. In Fullerton's loss at Tulsa, Gentry scored a career-high 15 points and matched a career high with three buckets from long distance.


AIR TIME: Currently, Cal State Fullerton has 10 men's basketball games scheduled to be broadcast. Still ahead, Cal State Fullerton's Jan. 16 game at UC Irvine has been scheduled for an ESPN3 broadcast.

Fullerton's contest against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 25 will be aired on Fox Sports Prime Ticket from Titan Gym. In addition, two Titan games are scheduled to be aired on ESPN3 starting on Thursday, Jan. 23 when the Titans host Cal Poly, as well as Fullerton's game against Hawai'i on Saturday, Feb. 15, from Titan Gym.


A NEW ERA BEGINS: Former Arizona State associate head men's basketball coach and long-time college assistant Dedrique Taylor was appointed the 11th men's basketball head coach in Cal State Fullerton history, Athletic Director Jim Donovan announced on April 3, 2013.


A NEW LOOK: Of the 16 players on Cal State Fullerton's roster, 10 had not suited up in a Cal State Fullerton uniform before the 2013-14 season. 


REPLACING OFFENSE: Cal State Fullerton lost 60 percent of its scoring from last season with the departure of seniors Sammy Yeager (15.8 ppg), Kwame Vaughn (18.4 ppg) and D.J. Seeley (17.9 ppg).


TITANS IN THE NBA: Former Cal State Fullerton men's basketball player Josh Akognon became the 12th former Titan to appear in the NBA on April 10, 2013 playing four minutes and scoring two points to go with an assist for the Dallas Mavericks in their 102-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns at the American Airlines Center.

Akognon, who played two seasons for Fullerton from 2007-09, became the first Titan to appear in an NBA game since Bobby Brown (2003-07) competed for the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers in the 2009-10 season. 


2013 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy Attracts Record Crowds:  With the attendance for the final four games of the 2013 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy being 6,007 for the competition at Honda Center on Dec. 1, the three-day event over Thanksgiving weekend attracted a record 14,982 fans for the in-season college basketball tournament near Disneyland.

The Dec. 1 total of 6,007 was a single-day record The 2013 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy featured a Marquette vs. San Diego State championship game at Honda Center.  Other schools in the event were Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, College of Charleston, Creighton, George Washington and Miami.

With the first four sessions of the 2013 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy being played November 28 and 29 at Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton, the final four games were combined into one session at Honda Center.  The two days of action at Titan Gym drew 3,831 on Thanksgiving Day and 5,144 on Nov. 29.

The previous tournament attendance record for the three days of competition at the Anaheim Convention was 14,212 set in November 2009. 


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