January 9, 2007

Lucky No. 13s on Titans' Minds Saturday

Jan. 9, 2007

Fullerton, Calif. -

UPCOMING:
Sat., Jan. 13 -- vs. UC Riverside, Titan Gym, 6:05 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 18 -- at Long Beach State, Walter Pyramid, 7:05 p.m., KVMD-TV
Sat., Jan. 20 -- at UC Irvine, Bren Center, 7:05 p.m., FSN Prime Ticket

IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (12-3, 3-1) goes for its 13th win of the season and 13th in a row at home Saturday night, Jan. 13, against UC Riverside (3-13). It's the 13th meeting between the schools since UCR went to Div. I. It's the only game of the week for Fullerton, but UCR will play a non-conference game at University of San Diego on Wednesday night. The Titans' 12-3 start is their best since the 1983-84 team opened up 13-2. With a win, they would be 4-1 in conference for the first time since that same season. Fullerton is ranked No. 20 in the current www.collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

INTERNET 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. Justin Alderson will be the announcer for the Riverside game.

INTERNET 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
C 5 Justin Burns** 6-7 Sr. 11.5 6.7r Took only 13 shots last week, making 7
F 2 Scott Cutley 6-5 Jr. 15.5 8.6r 1 more game to qualify for BWC leads; would be No. 5 scorer, No. 2 rebounder
G 3 Bobby Brown*** 6-2 Sr. 21.3 5.2a Began week in BWC top 5 in scoring, FG%, FT%, 3pt FGs & %, assists & steals
G 22 Ray Reed 5-11 Jr. 10.5 3.9a Leading Big West Conference in steals (2.40); 21 for 39 FGs last 7 games
G 0 Frank Robinson* 6-4 Jr. 12.0 5.4r Still looking for 3-point shooting touch -- 13-for-50 (.260) since 6-for-13 start

OFF THE BENCH:
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw 5-10 So. 11.4 2.6a 20 for 41 in 3-point FGs over last six games
C 42 Andrew Green 6-6 Jr. 4.3 3.1r Leads team in rebounds per minutes played
F 43 Chris Minardo 6-10 So. 4.9 2.3r Had 5 points, 4 rebounds in 11 quality minutes at Pepperdine
F 34 Marcus Morgan 6-5 Jr. 2.4 2.5r Started first three games; sidelined by knee problem for three games
F 21 Kenneth Alexander 6-6 Jr. 4.4 3.8r Got first start vs. Bethune-Cookman; 6 rebounds in solid 25 minutes at UCLA
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans lead the all-time series vs. UC Riverside, 14-13, but it's tied at 6-6 since UCR began the move to Div. I. Fullerton had a 4-game winning streak snapped in a home loss last season, 78-73 in overtime, on Feb. 4, 2006, in the last meeting.

ABOUT THE HIGHLANDERS: UCR (3-13, 0-4) takes an 11-game losing streak to the Jenny Craig Center on Wednesday night. The Highlanders lost Coach David Spencer to medical problems and Interim Coach Vonn Webb has been hit hard by injuries, particularly to the front line. Still, UCR's 4 conference losses have been by an average of less than 8 points. Justin Bell (12.3 ppg), Larry Cunningham (10.2), B. J. Visman (10.0) and Henrik Thomsen (9.5) carry the scoring load.

ABOUT THE TITANS: The Titans are trying to post their third consecutive winning season, something that hasn't been done in Fullerton since Coach George McQuarn posted four winning records between 1981-82 and 1984-85. They got off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1989-90 and their 12-3 start is the best since 1983-84. The Titans feature three returning "regulars" in seniors Bobby Brown at point guard and Justin Burns at center and junior guard Frank Robinson, who was the Big West Conference's "sixth-man" of the year in 2005-06. Four-year transfers Scott Cutley and Marcus Crenshaw from Kent State and Ray Reed from Georgetown have made an immediate impact along with community college transfers Kenneth Alexander and Marcus Morgan from West Valley, Andrew Green from College of the Sequoias and Chris Minardo from Citrus College.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 60-44 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .577, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). The recent 5-game winning streak matched a similar one in 2004-05 for the best of the Burton Era. He is 4-2 vs. UC Riverside.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 33-13 (.717) in Titan Gym and have a 12-game winning streak alive including 8-0 this season. In Big West play they are 2-0 at home, where they were only 2-5 last year.

NEW FRILLS: Not coincidental to the recent home success, a squad of cheerleaders was added to the home court ambience for last season. Along with a flag carrier and a new student band, they join the entertainment package headed by the six-time national champion dance team.

ON THE ROAD: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past two seasons plus this year to date they are 24-20 away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115. Burton's total CSF road record is 27-31.

OUT OF THE BLOCKS: With only two exceptions, the Titans have jumped out to double-digit first-half leads in every game this season, to wit: 14-2 at 15:24 vs. Cal Maritime; 24-12 at 10:10 vs. Hope; 17-7 at 15:19 at Lafayette; 33-23 at 9:26 at Eastern Washington; 14-3 at 14:43 vs. UTSA; 14-4 at 15:18 at UCLA; 13-2 at 15:42 at Pepperdine; 14-2 at 15:53 vs. Bethune Cookman, 24-14 at 7:41 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette; 16-6 at 12:06 vs. San Jose State; 41-31 at 6:22 at Cal Poly; 29-19 at 5:03 vs. CSUN and 27-17 at 7:01 vs. Pacific. Interestingly, in the two slow starts -- at UTSA and at UCSB -- they fell behind by as many as 17 points in the first half but rallied to at least get even in the second half. And against CSUN, they rallied from an early 11-0 deficit to build their own double-digit advantage.

Bobby Brown: Senior point guard Bobby Brown is the focal point of the Cal State Fullerton program. An unheralded product of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, he has developed into one of the nation's finest players and an All-America candidate. He tested the NBA draft waters last summer but opted to return for his senior year. He has been nominated for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard and is on CollegeInsider.com's pre-season Mid-Major All-American team. He has made numerous pre-season All-Big West Conference teams and is projected as player of the year by many. Last year he was first-team All-Big West and second-team All-NABC District.

He needs 207 more points to become the Titans' all-time leading scorer, surpassing All-American, Olympic gold medalist and 6-year NBA veteran Leon Wood. He needs only 36 to pass Richard Morton for No. 2 at 1,705. At Pepperdine he passed Greg Bunch and Chris Dade to move into the No. 4 spot on the list and went to No. 3 ahead of Ike Harmon (at 1,557) during the second Louisiana-Lafayette game. Brown was selected Big West Conference player of the week after his 47-point game against Bethune-Cookman, the second highest scoring total in Big West history behind 53 by Raymond Lewis of Cal State L.A. on Feb. 23, 1973, vs. Long Beach State. The 46-year-old school record was 45 points by Jon Brettman vs. Luke Air Force Base on Dec. 12, 1960. The old school Div. I record was 38 by Richard Morton on Jan. 7, 1988, vs. UC Irvine. Eleven 3-point field goals broke the CSF mark of 10 by Ryan Dillon (Jan. 31, 2001, vs. Boise State) and tied the Big West record of Chris Brown of UC Irvine on Mar. 13, 1994, vs. New Mexico State. Bobby Brown had 12 points in the first 4:07 and 17 (of team's first 19) in the first 7:11.

AND MORE: Brown began the week among the Big West leaders in every category except rebounding. He was No. 1 in scoring (21.3 ppg), No. 1 in assists (5.17 apg), No. 1 in 3-point field goals (3.75 per game), No. 2 in steals (1.83 per game), No. 2 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.68), No. 3 in minutes played (34.17 per game), No. 3 in 3-point field goal percentage (.469) and No. 5 in free-throw (.773) and field goal percentage (.530).

Frank Robinson: The junior swingman has picked up his game with the onset of Big West Conference play, averaging 13.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in four games. But he continues to struggle to find consistency with his 3-point field goal shooting, which was third best (.445) in the Big West last season. Since a 6-for-13 start, he has made only 13 of 50 (.260). If his recent pattern prevails, he will have a good night from the perimeter vs. UCR -- 0/3 vs. Bethune-Cookman, 3/5 vs. ULaLa, 0/5 vs. San Jose, 3/7 at SLO, 0/3 at UCSB, 3/7 vs. CSUN and 0/4 vs. UoP. He had a career-high 7 assists vs. Bethune Cookman. He was the key Titan off the bench last year when he was selected the "sixth man" of the year in the Big West Conference. He became a starter for the final three weeks of the season and played to an all-conference level, averaging 16.6 points over the last seven games capped by a 25-point, 12-rebound effort in defeat to Long Beach State in the semifinals of the post-season tournament. Overall, he averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds.

Justin Burns: Senior center bounced back from a scoreless game vs. Bethune-Cookman to score in double figures in the next four games before being held to 7 points vs. CSU Northridge on 3-for-4 shooting and 9 vs. Pacific (4 of 9 FGs). He won Big West Conference Player of the Week honors in November when he posted a pair of double-doubles in victories at Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana-Lafayette. He had a career second-best of 21 points vs. Texas-San Antonio. With three double-doubles this season, he has moved into the Titans' career Top 12 list with 8. He began the week No. 5 in rebounding in the Big West.

Scott Cutley: Junior forward is playing with a splint on his left hand to protect a fracture to his thumb suffered in practice prior to the Bethune-Cookman game, which he missed. With the splint he has 87 points and 49 rebounds in the last 6 games. In the last three games he is 7-for-9 from the 3-point line after starting the year 2-for-13. He broke in with a bang, scoring 31 points with 11 rebounds in his Titan debut at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 24. It was only the 62nd 30-point game by a Titan at the Div. I level. He scored the game-tying buckets in the final minute of both regulation and overtime. He is second in the Big West Conference in double-doubles with four despite playing in only 11 games, which leaves him shy of qualifying (75% of team's games) for the lead in scoring (would be No. 5) and rebounding (would be No. 2).

RAY REED: Georgetown transfer Ray Reed leads the Titans and the Big West Conference in steals (2.40) and is second on the team and fifth in the conference in assists (3.87 apg). He was in double figures in scoring in each of the first five games but then went five games in single digits until a 15-point effort vs. San Jose State. He made only 1 of 11 field goals at Pepperdine but since then is 21-for-39 (.538). He just missed a triple-double against Hope International when he had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. He has attempted at least one free throw in every game except at UCLA.

Marcus Crenshaw: Kent State transfer started the first three games and averaged 18 points. Playing considerably less minutes, he has averaged 9.8 points in the last 12 games. He is second on the team with 40 3-point field goals and began the week No. 3 in the Big West (at 2.67 per game). He is on pace to make 77 in a 29-game schedule which would be the third-best single-season total in CSF history. His total of 39 assists is No. 3 on the team.

LIVING RIGHT: Twice this season the Titans have survived 3-point field goal tries by opponents at the buzzer that would have turned CSF victories into defeat. And both times it was the opponent's leading scorer -- Ross Mouton at Louisiana-Lafayette and Marvin Lea at Pepperdine -- taking the shot. Ironically, in both games, the Titans led by 18 in the first half -- 29-11 at ULaLa and 30-12 at Pepperdine.

CONNECTING FROM LONG DISTANCE: The Titans have been on a 3-point shooting spree in their last 8 games, making double-digit totals with the exception of Dec. 30 at UC Santa Barbara (5 of 20). In this span, they have attempted an average of 24.9 per game and made an average of 11.0. On Jan. 4 they attempted a school record 33 treys and made 13, just one shy of the school record which they matched by making 14 at Cal Poly on Dec. 28. The Titans are on a pace to make 262 treys in 672 attempts in a 29-game season. The makes would be a school record while the attempts would still fall shy of the 716 atempted in a 32-game schedule in 2004-05.

FREE THROW FUTILITY: Fullerton had a lower free-throw percentage (.391, 9 of 23) than 3-point field goal percentage (.394, 13 of 33) on Jan. 4 vs. Cal State Northridge. There is no listed school record for single-game free-throw futility, but it was close. Among the inglorious past performances were: 28.6 percent (4 of 14) at Pacific on Jan. 4, 2001; 36.8 percent (7 of 19) at Nevada on March 7, 1997; and 33.3 percent (3 of 9) at Long Beach State on Jan. 22, 1998. The Titans have had at least one game under .500 at the line for each season since 1991-92.

GO FIGURE: Fullerton is shooting only .624 from the foul line at home (vs. NCAA teams only) compared to .729 on the road. And in 10 NCAA wins, .662 compared to .771 in the three losses. From the floor, Fullerton is shooting .503 overall and .441 from 3-point range in the 6 NCAA home games vs. .442 and .353 in the seven road games. The scoring is virtually identical -- 81.8 ppg at home (vs. NCAA teams only) vs. 81.4 ppg on the road.

WESTCHESTER CONNECTION: Westchester High School, one of California's most successful prep basketball programs in recent times, leaves a lot of flavor on the Titans' roster. Current players Bobby Brown, Scott Cutley and Jarrel Lake all played there while Titan Assistant Coach Marlon Morton was on the WHS staff. Last year's team had two more former Comets in Jerard Moret (who transferred to West L.A. College) and John Clemmons (eligibility expired).

ONLY ONE NEW STOP: Lafayette, Louisiana, with its Cajundome was the only stop on the Titans' basketball itinerary this year where the Titans have not previously competed. (Pending the ESPNU Bracket Buster assignmnet on Feb. 17). Conversely, three new opponents visited Titan Gym -- California Maritime, Bethune-Cookman and Louisiana-Lafayette.