Titan Men Try to End UCI's Unbeaten Streak

Jan. 20, 2006

Fullerton, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Sat., Jan. 21 - UC Irvine, Titan Gym (4,000), 2:05 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 25 -- at UC Irvine, Bren Center (5,000), KVMD television, 7:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (9-6, 3-3) has the next two chances to stop UC Irvine's (9-8, 5-0) unbeaten start to Big West Conference play. The Titans must bounce back from a devastating overtime loss to Long Beach State in which the 49ers got a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to tie and a game-winning 3-point bank shot with 1.9 seconds to play.

"RADIO": All ROAD Big West Conference games plus the Jan. 28 game at UC Davis can be heard on KSPA (1510 AM) with Justin Alderson calling the action. 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.

ABOUT THE ANTEATERS: Since a 5-game losing streak and two losses to non-Div. I opposition, UC Irvine has emerged as the only unbeaten team in Big West Conference play after road wins at Cal Poly and UCSB, home wins over Cal State Northridge and Pacific and then a road win (71-61) at UC Riverside on Thursday night. Senior guard Ross Schraeder leads four UCI players (Aaron Fitzgerald, Nic Campbell and Darren Fells) in double-figure scoring. Fitzgerald was the most recent Big West Player of the Week but the surprise hero has been freshman forward Adam Templeton, who had career highs of 18 points and 7 rebounds in the win at Riverside. UCI began the week No. 2 in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at .432 and it shot .435 (10 of 23) at UCR. They also lead the Big West in free-throw shooting but made only 7 of 13 at UCR.

PROBABLE FULLERTON STARTERS:
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg rpg Quick Notes
F 1 Jamaal Brown 6-7 Sr. 18.0 8.9
Made 13 of 16 field goal tries vs. Long Beach on way to 31 points
C 5 Justin Burns 6-6 Jr. 8.8 6.4
Posted a pair of double-doubles in last four games
G 3 Bobby Brown 6-1 Jr. 19.3 3.1
CSF's 3-point FG record holder now No. 10 on career scoring ladder
G 23 Vershan Cottrell 6-2 Sr. 5.6 3.5
Career highs of 8 rebounds, 6 assists to go with 12 points at UC Riverside
G 14 Jermaine Harper 6-3 Sr. 8.8 2.2
Averaging 17.0 points last 5 games, making 20 of 36 treys

OFF THE BENCH:
G 0 Frank Robinson 6-4 So. 10.1 5.0
Got first start at Pacific; made all-tourney team at Florida International
G 22 John Clemmons* 6-0 Sr. 2.2 1.4
Career-high 10 points vs. UCSB including career-best two treys in two tries
C 15 Curtis Battles 6-10 Jr. 2.6 2.3
Has played 25 minutes in past three games
G 33 Jerard Moret 6-4 Fr. 3.9 3.4
Missed four games with a broken bone in his right ring finger
C 34 Gary Nunez 6-7 Jr. 3.3 1.7
Had 8 points, 4 rebounds in 11 minutes at FIU
C 52 Manny Montano 6-10 Jr. 1.4 0.8
Palomar College transfer known for shot blocking abilities
G 11 Damien Massey 5-11 RFr. 0.0 0.0
Has played only vs. Hope International

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 41-34 in his third year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .547, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). At 22-20, Burton has the only winning record in conference play among all Titan head coaches. He is 2-2 vs. UC Irvine (1-1 in Titan Gym).

SERIES HISTORY: Fullerton leads UC Irvine in the series, 42-37, with the teams splitting the season series in each of the past three seasons.

THE BROWNS DELIVER: Junior Bobby (19.3 pg) and senior Jamaal (18.0 ppg) have scored 47 percent of the Titans' points this year and ranked Nos. 2 and 4, respectively, in the Big West Conference (prior to Thursday) in scoring behind Cal State Northridge's Mike Efevberha (20.0 ppg). Jamaal ranks No. 2 in rebounding at 8.9 rpg behind Pacific's Christian Maraker at 9.2 rpg and Bobby leads the team in assists (4.0 per game) to rank second in the Big West. Both made the all-tournament team at San Francisco and Bobby also made the FIU all-tourney team.

BOBBY FOCAL POINT: Junior point guard Bobby Brown is drawing more attention from opposing defenses as well as NBA scouts (eight were booked for Thursday night) while trying to exert more leadership as the team's only two-year letterman. At Cal State Northridge on Jan. 7 he passed Chris Dade to rank No. 1 in Titan career 3-point field goals and now has 199. He is the 18th member of the Titans' 1,000-point club and currently ranks No. 10 at 1,196. At No. 9 with 1,240 points is Keith Anderson (1975-79). Bobby has 306 career assists and needs 33 more to crack the all-time Titan top five. He is wearing an arm sleeve this year (see Allen Iverson). He has been bothered recently by back spasms and limped off the floor temporarily in the closing minutes of overtime vs. Long Beach State.

JAMAAL THE INSIDE FORCE: Senior Jamaal Brown erupted in the second half at UC Riverside on Saturday, scoring 16 of his game-high 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting, and rode that momentum to a 13-for-16 performance vs. Long Beach State. He posted his third 30-point game of the year with 31. In December he became only the third Titan (Leon Wood and Cedric Ceballos) to post back-to-back 30-point games with 30 vs. Chicago State and 36 at USF on Dec. 9 & 10. His 36-point one-game effort is topped only by Richard Morton's Div. I school record of 38 (vs. UC Irvine, 1/7/88). Ironically, Morton, currently the head coach of the San Francisco Pilots ABA team, was in attendance that night. Brown has had only four double-doubles (30 points, 13 rebounds vs. Chicago State; 13 points, 12 rebounds at Florida International; 16 points, 11 rebounds at CSU Northridge and 31 points and 10 boards vs. Long Beach State) but would be AVERAGING a double-double with 16 more total rebounds. He had eight double-doubles last year.

BURNS BECOMES KEY: Junior Justin Burns has become probably the key Titan performer with the Browns consistently starring. Burns is easily the most improved Titan and they need him to stay out of foul trouble due to the lack of consistent play by the big men off the bench. His absence due to foul trouble was critical in the losses at USF, vs. Cal Poly and at Pacific. He began the week fifth in the Big West in rebounding at 6.3 per game. He had the best game of his career at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 7, scoring a career-high 18 points and matching his rebounding best with 10. He nearly matched it at UC Riverside on Saturday with 17 points and 10 rebounds. At CSUN he attempted 20 free throws (making 12) to come up only two shy of the CSF school record of 22 attempts by Leon Wood on Nov. 19, 1981, vs. Texas-Arlington. He appeared to be the hero vs. Long Beach State with an offensive rebound and putback for a 1-point lead with 15 seconds to play in overtime.

Jermaine Harper: The senior guard has regained the form of his junior season in the last 5 games after a long shooting slump. In the last 5 games he is 30-for-52 (.577) from the floor including 20-of-36 (.556) from the 3-point line to average 17.0 points. In the previous five games he was 3-for-22 from behind the arc. In the first 10 games of the season he was 15-for-60 from the floor and 9-of-44 from trey-land. He did not score in 21 minutes in the game vs. Cal Poly. In his Titan career he has had six games of 20 or more points and 15 of 4 points or less. Last year he made 70 of 191 treys (.366 percentage) and tied for fifth most in a season by a Titan. This season he is shooting .363 and is on pace to make about 54. He is on the verge of breaking into the Titans' career top ten with 99 makes and and 271 attempts.

Vershan Cottrell: The other senior off guard continues to play above his 2004-05 level. He was the Titans' leading scorer (15 points) at Kansas State and he made all 5 shots in the first half vs. Cal Poly on his way to 12 points. At UC Riverside he had 12 points (all in the first half) along with career highs of 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Last year he averaged roughly 2 points and 1 rebound but this year is at 5.6 points and 3.5 rebounds and has started 12 times.

SUPER SUB STARTS: Sophomore Frank Robinson had been the key Titan off the bench before earning a starter's role at Pacific. He was back on the bench at the start of the UCR game on Saturday and on Thursday vs. Long Beach when he failed to score. He is the No. 3 scorer at 10.1 points per game, the No. 3 rebounder at 5.0 per game and is shooting a team second-best .412 from the 3-point line. Twice he has scored 20 points -- vs. Hope and at CSUN. In the Florida International Tournament, he had 9 steals in the two games and made the all-tournament team. In addition to making the transition from idle redshirt year to a new system, he also is learning the power forward position on the run. He had scored in double figures in six games in a row before a 9-point effort at UCR and a zero vs. the 49ers.

John Clemmons: The third senior guard has emerged as much more than Bobby Brown's caddy. He has provided a consistent defensive spark off the bench at point guard and has played substantial minutes with Brown moving to off guard. Clemmons had a career-high 10 points vs. UCSB including a career-best two 3-point field goals (in 2 tries). His assist/turnover ratio (39/15) is outstanding at 2.60-to-1 (the Big West leader was CSUN's Bakari Altheimer at 2.16) but Clemmons needs to have 3 assists per game to qualify for the conference leader board and currently he is averaging only 2.79. He had 7 assists and no turnovers in 14 minutes vs. Long Beach State.

BATTLIN' CURTIS: Center Curtis Battles, who has lost 75 pounds in the last 12 months, has worked his way into the playing rotation over the past three games, contributing 7 points and 10 rebounds in a total of 25 minutes. He did not play a single minute in the previous fives games.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 21-10 (.677) in Titan Gym, posting the first consecutive winning seasons at home since 1997-98 and 1998-99. His 2003-04 team was 8-6 and last year's team was 10-2, losing only to UC Irvine and Pacific. Going back to last season, Fullerton has won 18 of its last 23 home games.

WESTCHESTER CONNECTION: Assistant Coach Marlon Morton joins the Titans' staff this year after a long career assisting at Westchester High School, one of California's most successful prep basketball programs in recent times. He sees a lot of familiar faces since Bobby Brown, John Clemmons, Jerard Moret and redshirts Scott Cutley and Jarrel Lake all played for the Comets.

LOOKING BACK: Last year's Titans team accomplished a remarkable number of positive statistics and records, most notably tying for the second most victories in a Div. I season (21 vs. 23 in 1977-78 and 21 in 1982-83) and posting only the third and fourth post-season (NIT) wins in school history to complete the first winning season since 1992-93.

HALFTIME INDICATORS: Fullerton is 6-4 after leading at the half, 1-0 when tied and 2-2 when trailing. The Titans have been outscored by 36 points in the second halves and by 3 points in overtime.

SPEAKING OF OVERTIME: Coach Bob Burton's first Titan team was 0-4 in overtime and last year's team was 3-0. This year's team is 0-2 and each time the opponent forced overtime with a last-second 3-pointer.

THREE IS A BAD NUMBER: Fullerton opponents are having some sensational games with the 3-point basket. USF's Dommanic Ingerson made 6 of 7 in the final 11 minutes to lead a Don overtime win, Cal Poly's Dawin Whiten made 6 of 9 to lead a Mustang victory in the Big West opener, CSUN's Mike Efevberha made 8 of his last 9 tries (8 of 11 overall) in a narrow Fullerton win, UCR's Dedrick Bates (1 of 16 on the season) made 4 of 4 and then Long Beach State set a school record by making 14 in 34 attempts.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Seven players on last year's team are no longer on the roster. Ralphy Holmes graduated in August and is playing in the CBA with the Yakama team. Yaphett King is attempting to play professionally in a foreign country. Hardy Asprilla remains in school and is assisting the players with academics while providing an experienced and inspirational voice from near the bench. Derek Quinet had two years of eligibility remaining but decided to focus on his classroom work this year. Danny Lambert quit the team in October and redshirt Adam Tancredi quit on Dec. 11. Drew Awad passed away on Dec. 26 after battling for more than a year against a reoccurrence of leukemia.

GO EAST YOUNG MEN: Cal State Fullerton in December played on the East Coast for the third time in 14 months after making only one appearance there in the previous 30 years (at Providence, Connecticut and Richmond in 1974-75). The Titans opened last season at a tournament at Central Connecticut State in New Britain and ended it with a post-season NIT game at Georgetown in the nation's capital.