UC Irvine (20-10, 11-3) at Cal State Fullerton (11-17, 6-8)
Thursday, March 6, 2014 | 7:00 PM
Fullerton, Calif. • Titan Gym
ON TAP: Cal State Fullerton has clinched a spot in the Big West Tournament but with two regular season games remaining, the Titans' seed has yet to be determined. Fullerton has one home game remaining, hosting UC Irvine, Thursday at Titan Gym. Prior to tip-off Fullerton seniors Marquis Horne, James Johnson and Michael Williams will be honored.
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 UC IRVINE: UC Irvine sits at the top of the Big West standings with two games remaining. After traveling to Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, the Anteaters will close the season hosting UC Davis in Irvine, Calif. UCI leads UC Santa Barbara by one game. Irvine has won seven of its last eight as Luke Nelson leads the Anteaters averaging 12.1 points per game.
HEAD-TO-HEAD VS. UC IRVINE: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series against UC Irvine, 52-47, including a 23-21 mark at home and a 40-33 record in league play. The Anteaters have won the last four meetings against Fullerton. The Titans' last win against UCI was an 100-94 victory on Feb. 9, 2012 in Fullerton.
LAST TIME OUT VS. UC IRVINE: UC Irvine defended the Bren Events Center with a 72-54 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 16. The Anteaters were led by Chris McNealy's 22 points, while Will Davis II poured in 11 points to go with eight rebounds. In addition, 7-foot-6 Mamadou Ndiaye added 10 points and nine rebounds. Alex Young guided the UCI offense with nine assists.
THE SECOND LEG: Cal State Fullerton completed half of its Big West Conference schedule with a record of 2-6, although the Titans played UC Riverside twice during the first leg, and Fullerton will pay Hawai'i twice during the second leg. Fullerton currently has a record of 4-2 during the second half of conference play.
The Titans have split season series with UC Davis, UC Riverside, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State.
Cal State Fullerton won its third straight Big West Conference opener following a 78-73 win over UC Riverside on Jan. 9. Against the Highlanders, five Titans scored in double figures - a first for Fullerton during the 2013-14 season.
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.
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 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.
THE LAST TIME: The Titans, who suffered a 92-83 overtime loss at Cal State Northridge on Feb. 8, played in their first overtime game since an 83-77 win at UC Riverside on Jan. 8, 2011.
THE FIRST TIME: With a pair of wins last week over Cal State Northridge (82-81) and Long Beach State (84-76), the Titans won back-to-back Big West Conference games for the first time this year. In Cal State Fullerton's loss to the Matadors on Feb. 8, for the only time this year, the Titans shot a higher percentage (.421-.410) than its opponent and lost. In the Titans' 82-81 win over the Matadors at Titan Gym on Thursday, Cal State Northridge never held a lead in the game. For the first time this season, Cal State Fullerton led from start to finish.
SEASON HIGHS: Fullerton overcame a 14-point deficit in last Saturday's 84-76 win over Long Beach State, the largest deficit the Titans have overcome this year. In addition, the Titans shot a season-best 56.4 percent (31-of-55) from the floor against the 49ers.
BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Impressive shooting and prodigious scoring mixed well for Cal State Fullerton senior Michael Williams, the Big West Men's Basketball Player of the Week who led the Titans to back-to-back conference wins for the first time this season.
Williams averaged 25.5 points per game in keying wins against Cal State Northridge (82-81) and Long Beach State (84-76) last week. The two wins clinched a spot for CSF in the Big West Tournament, as well as vaulting the Titans into fifth place in the league standings.
For the week, Williams shot 60.6% (20 of 33) from the floor, and made six of his 15 three-point attempts.
SEASON BESTS: Alex Harris knocked down seven three-pointers at CSUN on Feb. 8, setting a career high and Titan season high. As a team, the Titans knocked down 12 three-pointers at CSUN, setting a season high. In addition, Fullerton's 23 made free throws and 37 free-throw attempts set season highs at Northridge. Steve McClellan set career highs scoring 18 points and grabbing 15 rebounds at CSUN. McClellan's 15 rebounds also marked a Titan season high.
Alex Harris' 29 points vs. Hawai'i on Feb. 15 marked a career best as well as a Titan season high, which was matched by Michael Williams' 29-point effort at UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 22. Williams scored 23 points in the second half at UCSB, also a season best for any Titan in a half this year. In addition, his 12 made field goals last Saturday against LBSU set a Titan season high. Williams' 14 made free throws at Cal Poly on Feb. 20, set a career high and Titan season best.
Marquis Horne's four blocks at Cal Poly set a Titan season best as well as career high for the senior.
The crowd of 3,017 for Homecoming vs. Hawai'i on Feb. 15 was Fullerton's largest home crowd of the year.
CURRENT NOTES: Cal State Fullerton is 4-2 in the second half of Big West play, and the Titans have split season series with six teams...Cal State Fullerton has used 10 different starting lineups this season...Fullerton has not led in a game nine times this year...on Feb. 15 vs. Hawai'i, the Titans lost their fourth halftime lead of the year....CSF completed non-conference action with a record of 5-9...the Titans are 7-0 when scoring over 74 points and shooting 50 percent or more from the floor...Fullerton has also come back three times this season from halftime deficits to win: at Pepperdine (Dec. 4), vs. Sacramento State (Dec. 21) and vs. Long Beach State (March 1).
THE LAST SIX: Fullerton boasts a record of 4-2 in its last six games. During that stretch, the Titans are averaging 75.3 points per game and shooting 47.4 percent from the floor while knocking 42 three-pointers.
ROAD WOES: The Titans' 67-59 win over Cal Poly on Feb. 20 snapped a seven-game road losing streak as Fullerton won its first Big West road game of the year. The Titans also won in San Luis Obispo for the first time since Feb. 24, 2010 Fullerton. The Titans average 66.4 points per game on the road (3-11, 1-6 Big West) compared to 72.1 ppg at Titan Gym (8-5, 5-2 Big West).
HOT HANDS: Through the last six games, Cal State Fullerton has a record of 4-2. During that stretch, Alex Harris is averaging 19.2 points per game, shooting 44.7 percent from the floor while knocking down 12 three-pointers. The junior from Richmond, Calif., has led the Titans in scoring in two of the Titans' last six games, and has totaled 22 assists.
Senior Michael Williams is averaging 23.3 points per game over the last six games, leading the Titans in scoring for four straight games.
Williams has knocked down 18 three-pointers while dishing 15 assists.
TOP OF THE LEAGUE: In Big West games only, Michael Williams leads the league averaging 20.6 points per game, while his 2.71 three-pointers per game rank second. He has scored in double figures for 28 straight games, and has reached the 20-point plateau on 12 occasions this year. His eight assists against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 25 set a Titan season high, and on Feb. 20 at Cal Poly his 14 free throws set a Fullerton season high as well as career best. On Feb. 22 at UCSB, Williams scored a season high 29 points while knocking down a season-best five three-pointers. Williams scored 23 points in the second half, also a season best for any Titan in a half this year. Despite only one season with the Titans, his 12 20-point games rank in Fullerton's all-time top 20.
SHARP SHOOTER: In Big West games only, junior Alex Harris is averaging 18.1 points per game, which ranks fifth in the league. In addition, his 2.57 three-pointers per game in league play rank third. He is also one of only five players in the league to knock down at least seven three-pointers in one game this year.
Harris scored a career-high 29 points on Feb. 15 in a loss to Hawai'i.
IN THE BIG WEST: Entering the week, Michael Williams' average of 17.9 points per game ranks fourth in the league, his 2.32 three-pointers per game rank third and his three-point field goal percentage of .374 rates eighth...Alex Harris' 15.6 points per game rank ninth in the Big West and his 1.96 three-pointers per game rank ninth in the league.
IN THE PAINT: Cal State Fullerton has outscored opponents 798-776 in the paint this season. Junior Steve McClellan is averaging 6.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while senior Marquis Horne is scoring 8.0 ppg while also knocking down 23 three-pointers. Last weekend, Horne averaged 17.0 ppg shooting 66.7 percent from the floor and knocking down four three-pointers. Playing meaningful minutes off the bench, James Johnson contributed 4.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg last week.
WIN-LOSS COMPARISONS: In 11 wins, the Titans have shot 50.3 percent from the floor while averaging 77.5 points per game. Also, Fullerton holds opponents to a shooting percentage of .407 and an average of 68.0 points per game.
In 17 losses this season, Fullerton is shooting a field goal percentage of .388 while averaging just 62.5 points per game while opponents average 74.0 ppg and shoot at a clip of .485. In addition, opponents outrebound CSF 36.2-33.4.
MORE COMPARISONS: The Titans have outscored opponents 798-776 in the paint this year, but trail opponents in second chance points (275-287) and points off turnovers (367-406). In losses, the Titans have made just 342 trips to the free-throw line, compared to 444 opportunities for opponents.
AIR TIME: Currently, Cal State Fullerton has had 13 men's basketball games broadcast this year. The Titans post a 2-11 record in games that were broadcast during the 2013-14 season.
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.