Titans Travel to UC Irvine Saturday Night

Jan. 2, 2009

Irvine, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Sat., Jan. 3 -- at UC Irvine, Bren Center (5,000), 7:05 p.m. (Cox3 TV delayed)
Thur., Jan. 8 -- at Cal Poly SLO, Mott Gym (3,032), 8 p.m. ESPNU-TV
Sat., Jan. 10 -- at UC Santa Barbara, The Thunderdome (6,000), 7 p.m. FSN Prime Ticket TV

IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (6-7, 0-1) try to bounce back from the worst home loss (90-64 to CSUN) in the Bob Burton Era when they begin a string of three consective televised road games with a 22-mile bus ride to UC Irvine. It was the Anteaters who last handed Fullerton a 26-point loss in Titan Gym, back on Feb. 2, 2002. The Titans have a string alive of winning their conference ROAD opener in each of the past four seasons.

AUDIO: All Titan games can be heard live on the internet on computers with sound cards. Listeners may access the CSF Athletics home page at www.fullertontitans.com and follow the links. Mike Martinez will call the games at UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara and Mel Franks will handle the game at Cal Poly.

VIDEO: All Titan home games and road Big West Conference games are available via videostreaming on a subscription basis. Details are available on the Big West website at www.bigwest.org.

PROBABLE STARTERS:
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg r/apg Quick Notes
G 1 Josh Akognon* 6-1 Sr. 24.4 2.1a String of 24 games in double figures ended with 8-point game vs. CSUN
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 9.4 4.2a Season-high 23 points vs. Montana State; 5-of-8 from 3-point line
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 4.8 5.5r Leads Big West with 1.9 blocked shots per game
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 10.7 6.0r Quick return from sprained ankle Dec. 6; got 15 points vs. CSU Bakersfield
G 11 Marcio Lassiter* 6-2 Sr. 9.3 2.8r Only 6-for-30 from 3-point line since 3-for-3 effort vs. Charlotte
OFF THE BENCH:
F 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 4.5 1.9r Scored 10 points in first half vs. Charlotte on 4-for-4 shooting
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 8.5 3.8r Season-high 18 points, 6 steals at Montana St.; 14 points, 9 boards vs. CSUN
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 4.5 3.2r Leads team with .641 field-goal percentage
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 1.0 1.2a Scored first points on Mainland with deuce vs. CSU Bakersfield
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 1.0 0.8r 4 points on 2-for-2 shooting at Montana State
F 5 Regan Andersen 6-7 Jr. 1.6 1.6r Well-traveled Milwaukee native; walk-on transfer from Oxnard College
G 44 Kwasi Mensah 6-3 Fr. 0.0 0.0a Walk-on from Rancho Cucamonga HS
*letters earned

EASY FOR ME TO SAY: Josh ah-KOY-uhn &\#149; POP gee-SAY &\#149; Ameer shahm-suh-DEEN &\#149; zyah-KEESE Streeter &\#149; KWAH-zee Mensah &\#149; REE-guhn Andersen

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans have won the last five meetings vs. UC Irvine to extend their lead in the all-time series to 47-39. They are 12-10 in the Bren Center, winning on their last two trips and three of the past four.

ABOUT THE ANTEATERS: UC Irvine is 2-10 and opening Big West Conference play. The Anteaters are coming off a 60-52 home loss to Utah on Dec. 27. They are 0-4 at home this year after losing only once in the Bren Center last year -- in the finale vs. Fullerton. Senior Kevin Bland is the leading scorer (12.2 ppg) and rebounder (7.2 rpg) and freshman Eric Wise (11.8 ppg and 5.5 rpg) is the top newcomer.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 98-67 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .594, Burton is the winningest coach in Titan history. Alex Omalev, who passed away on Nov. 10 at the age of 88, has the most total victories (139-176) followed by George McQuarn (122-117). Bobby Dye is second in winning percentage at .583 (109-78).

ROAD WARRIORS: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past four seasons plus this year, they are 43-37 (.538) away from Titan Gym (includes 10-9 on neutral floors). For the previous 10 seasons (1994-95 thru 2003-04) the combined road record was 30-115 (.207). With a 3-11 mark in his first season (2003-04), Burton's total CSF road record is 46-48 (.489). Burton is 7-4 vs. Irvine and Coach Pat Douglass, 3-2 in the Bren Center.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE "D'?: Through the first 11 games of the season, the Titans were leading the Big West Conference in field-goal percentage defense at .413 and they were allowing only .306 from the 3-point line. But in the past two games, Montana State and Cal State Northridge have combined to shoot .573 overall (67 of 117) and .500 from behind the arc (21 of 42).

LOSING BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Not surprisingly, given the heights on the roster and the quality of the competition, rebounding has been a problem for the Titans in 2008-09... Although outrebounded by only about 4 per game, the Titans have had some glaring disparities and have given up almost 16 offensive rebounds per game... Three of the four worst rebounding disparities of the Bob Burton Era have occurred this season -- minus 29 (56 vs. 27) at LSU, minus 22 (54 vs. 32) vs. Saint Mary's and minus 18 (37 vs. 19) in a win at home over Montana State... the other game in that neighborhood was minus 23 (50 vs. 27) vs. Wisconsin in last year's NCAA Tournament... Saint Mary's grabbed 26 offensive rebounds and both LSU and Central Michigan got 20... only one other team (Cal State Northridge with 21 on Feb. 10, 2007) has collected 20 or more offensive rebounds against a Burton team at CSF.

PLAYER UPDATES:
Guard Josh Akognon was third in the nation in scoring (at 25.5 ppg) in games through Dec. 21, trailing only Davidson's Stephen Curry (30.0) and Chicago State's David Holston (26.4)... But he is coming off only the fourth single-digit scoring game of his Titan career and first in 25 games... Cal State Northrige held him to 8 points primarily by denying him the ball and then getting him to take forced shots the few times he saw it (3-for-13, 2-for-6 from the arc) ... He even missed his only free-throw attempt... He has posted the second and third highest scoring games by a Div. I Titan with a pair of 41-point efforts this season at Hawaii and vs. Cal State Bakersfield... Each time he was selected Big West Conference Player of the Week... Only Bobby Brown's (currently of the Sacramento Kings) 47-point effort vs. Bethune Cookman on Dec. 16, 2006, is better... Akognon now has two of the top 20 scoring games in conference history... Only three other players (Raymond Lewis of Cal State L.A., Ed Ratleff of Long Beach State and Scott Brooks of UC Irvine) have scored 41 or more points more than once.
Akognon has been a typical streak shooter... He had 4 points (2-of-7 overall, 0-for-3 treys) in the first half vs. Montana State on Dec. 22 but got 25 points (7-of-12, 7-of-11) in the second half... Six of the treys came in a span of 6:23 during which CSF went from a 35-35 tie to a 62-47 lead (27-12 run)... Seven made treys in a game matched his career high (fifth time, but first time all in one half)... He bounced back from a poor shooting night (6-of-23, 3-of-14) at Montana State to make 10-of-20, 6-of-11 vs. Cal State Bakersfield... Akognon made the all-tournament team in Hawai'i and was one vote shy of making the 6-man All-76 Classic squad in Anaheim... He is averaging 19.5 shots per game including 11.2 3-point tries... He set a Stan Sheriff Center record in Honolulu with 41 points in the win over Hawaii, making 12 of 29 shots including 7 of 18 3-pointers... In 45 career games, Akognon already has moved into the No. 4 spot on the CSF career 3-point field goal list with 170 (Chris St. Clair is No. 3 at 185)... He's also No. 4 in attempts with 441 (St. Clair is No. 3 with 511)... With 964 points, he is 36 shy of becoming the 19th Titan to score 1,000... Akognon is a nominee for the Bob Cousy Award to the nation's top point guard.

Forward Gerard Anderson missed only the Montana State game due to an ankle sprained in the opening minute vs. Central Michigan on Dec. 6... Other than a lack of conditioning, he appeared healthy against Bakersfield, making all six of his shots on his way to 15 points including a spectacular dunk off a lob pass from Josh Akognon on a fast break... He had a tomahawk breakaway dunk vs. Montana State on Dec. 22 that brought down the house... He scored the Titans' first point of the season (3:27 into the Texas State game) but didn't score again until the second half, when he erupted for 14 points in a span of less than 5 minutes on his way to a 20-point half... At Portland State he had 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds but missed a game-winning shot at the buzzer... He had 10 rebounds in the first half and 12 total against a still unbeaten Wake Forest team that started three players 6-foot-9 or better.

Point guard Jacques Streeter suddenly has turned into a potent 3-point field goal shooter... His percentage has been excellent all season but in the last two games he has erupted for 9 makes in 14 tries (.643) after averaging one make per game over the first 11 games... He scored a season-high 23 points on Dec. 22 vs. Montana State, making 5-of-8 treys... He leads the team with a .541 percentage from behind the arc... He has handled the ball extremely well for a freshman with only 33 turnovers vs. 55 assists and has been among the Big West leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio, currently at 1.67... He has shown the potential for a triple double -- scoring in double figures 7 times, getting 12 assists in one game and grabbing as many as 9 rebounds.

Guard Aaron Thompson has proven to be an explosive offensive player... He had a season-high 18-point effort at Montana State where he went 7-for-10 from the floor and added 6 steals, the best mark in the Big West this season... He is the only player besides Josh Akognon to lead the team in scoring this year with a 14-point effort Monday night vs. Cal State Northridge (and 18 to share honors at Montana State), to which he added a season-high 9 rebounds... He leads the team in trips to the hospital -- suffering a head laceration in practice in Portland on Nov. 22 and a concussion and possible broken nose on Dec. 22 vs. Montana State.

Guard Marcio Lassiter made a quick return from a knee that was bruised severely on Nov. 22 in Portland (see Thompson injuries), causing him to miss the Portland State game and the first half vs. Wake Forest... He got 8 points in the second half vs. the Demon Deacons and totaled a combined 20 vs. Saint Mary's and Charlotte back in a starting role... He matched his career high by making three treys vs. Charlotte, in only three tries including a back-breaker in overtime... But he is only 6-for-30 from behind the stripe over the past six games... He missed the first free throw of his CAREER in the second half vs. Central Michigan, snapping a string of 28 in a row including all 18 last season... He missed one of six vs. Bakersfield and two of three vs. CSUN and is now 39-for-43 (.907) for his career.

Forward Chris Rhymes made a delayed debut on Nov. 20 vs. Hope, finally cleared after rehabbing since his March knee surgery... He scored 12 points in 17 minutes... He is still rounding into shape but was a catalyst vs. Charlotte, coming off the bench to hit 4-of-4 shots including a pair of 3-pointers in a 10-point first-half effort that rallied Fullerton from an early 8-point deficit... He played a season high of 22 minutes vs. CMU after Gerard Anderson's early departure to injury and took over his starting role in Bozeman.

Forward Papa Guisse had his best game of the young season vs. Charlotte with 8 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes of play... He blocked 5 shots vs. both Saint Mary's and Central Michigan and on the season has half (23 of 46) of the team's total of rejections to lead the Big West at 1.9 per game... He grabbed 8 rebounds at LSU... He is shooting .480 from the floor after a scoreless game (0-for-3) vs. Cal State Northridge.