January 22, 2008

Improved UC Riverside Visits CSF for Rematch

Jan. 22, 2008

Fullerton, Calif. -

UPCOMING:
Wed., Jan. 23 -- UC Riverside, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 31 -- at Long Beach State, Walter Pyramid (5,000), 7:05 p.m. - KVMD Television
Sat., Feb. 2 -- at Cal State Northridge, The Matadome (1,600), 7:05 p.m.

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IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (11-6, 4-2) have only one game this week and they will try to avoid having a letdown against UC Riverside similar to last season, when they followed a 40-point win with a 6-point loss. The Titans defeated the Highlanders in Riverside, 77-47, on Jan. 7 for their most lopsided road win in 11 years. UCR is not likely to shoot 27 percent from the floor again.

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 announce the UC Riverside contest.

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
F 2 Scott Cutley* 6-5 Sr. 13.9 7.1r Mr. Consistency: between 11 & 18 points, 7 or 8 boards each of last 5 games
F 34 Marcus Morgan* 6-5 Jr. 5.8 5.9r Career highs of 13 points at Arizona, 11 rebounds at Saint Mary's
G 1 Josh Akognon 6-1 Jr. 21.2 3.1r 30-or-more points four times this season; nearing CSF 3-point season record
F 5 Frank Robinson** 6-4 Sr. 15.7 6.8r In Big West Top Ten in scoring, rebounding and assists
G 15 Junior Russell 5-6 Jr. 5.6 2.5a Made all 6 shots (4 treys) to match season high with 16 points vs. Cal Poly

OFF THE BENCH:
C 21 Kenneth Alexander* 6-6 Sr. 3.6 2.0r Career-high 17 points off the bench at Southern Utah
G 22 Ray Reed* 5-11 Sr. 3.7 1.1a Season-high 11 points vs. Southern Utah
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw* 5-10 Jr. 9.5 2.1a Scored 16 points in 20 minutes vs. UC Irvine
C 42 Andrew Green* 6-6 Sr. 3.6 2.7r Grabbed 7 rebounds in 20 minutes at UC Riverside
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Jr. 2.9 0.6a Career-high 11 points in 10 minutes vs. Furman
C 13 Eddie Lima 6-9 Jr. 1.9 1.5r Has played only 8 minutes over last 13 games
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans hold a 16-14 advantage in the all-time series with UC Riverside and an 8-7 edge since 2000-01. Fullerton is 5-3 in Titan Gym. Fullerton won at UCR earlier this season, 77-47, as UCR shot only 27 percent from the floor, a Div. I opponent low against Fullerton (since 1980-81).

ABOUT THE HIGHLANDERS: The Highlanders (4-12, 1-4) broke into the Big West victory column Saturday night with a 70-66 home win over Long Beach State after a 4-point loss to first-place Cal State Northridge on Wednesday night. Larry (14.6 ppg) and Sean (9.0 ppg) Cunningham are the leading scorers but they combined for 5-for-28 shooting in the first meeting between the two teams. Aaron Scott (4.9 rpg) is the top rebounder and No. 3 scorer at 7.6 ppg but he played less than a minute against CSF when Cleavon Barlow led UCR with 11 points and Larry Cunningham added 10.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 79-57 in his fifth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .581, Burton has dropped back behind Bobby Dye (109-78, .583) as the second winningest coach in Titan history. He is 6-3 vs. UC Riverside, 3-1 in Titan Gym, and 1-0 vs. Jim Wooldridge.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 43-17 (.717) in Titan Gym including 6-2 this season.

THESE 30 ROAD WINS MUCH QUICKER: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past three seasons plus this season to date, they are 33-29 (.532) away from Titan Gym. 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 36-40 (.474).

LIVE AND DIE BY THE THREE: The Titans shoot .420 from behind the 3-point line. In their 11 wins they have shot .466 compared to .328 in the 6 losses. The only loss where they shot above .420 was the Wright State game (.423). They have won only three times when shooting below .420 -- .407 vs. Cal State L.A., .333 vs. Montana and .381 at UC Riverside.

HEALING MAN CUTLEY: The Titans' returning first-team All-Big West Conference senior forward Scott Cutley returned to the practice floor during Thanksgiving weekend, came off the bench at Arizona and started at Montana, six weeks after suffering a fractured right ankle. Last season he missed only one game despite a broken thumb. He currently ranks No. 2 in the Big West in rebounding at 7.1 rpg per game, No. 8 in scoring at 13.9 points per game, No. 7 in assists at 2.93 per game, No. 7 in field goal percentage at .490 and No. 4 in minutes played at 32.07 per game. He posted three consecutive double-doubles vs. Central Michigan, Southern Utah and Montana and just missed a triple-double vs. the Thunderbirds. He has scored in double figures in every start except at Saint Mary's (8 points). He is 15-for-20 at the foul line over the last 3 games.

AKOGNON LIKES THE TEMPO: Josh Akognon is already three-fourths of the way toward breaking the Cal State Fullerton single-season record for 3-point field goals (89 by Don Leary in 1992-93). With 71 treys in 17 games, he is averaging 4.18 per game and if he maintains that pace he would hit No. 90 in game No. 22 on Feb. 9 at Cal Poly. He has made four or more in a game 11 times with a best of seven on three occasions. He was in a 2-for-20 slump before a 10-for-21 road trip. The Washington State transfer led the Cougars in scoring in 2005-06 and made just under two treys per game while averaging 10.3 points. This year he is among the Big West leaders in scoring (2nd at 21.2 ppg), 3-point field goals (1st at 4.18 per game) and free-throw percentage (1st at .911 on 51 of 56). At Saint Mary's he grabbed a career-high 9 rebounds. He has scored 30 points or more four times. Only five other Big West players have hit 30, none more than once.

ROBINSON REBOUNDS: Frank Robinson sat out the Dec. 17 Southern Utah game with an ankle injury but has played well since returning. He scored 16 of his game-high 20 points before intermission on 6-for-9 shooting vs. Montana and had 22 points and 5 rebounds vs. Wright State. At the Saint Mary's tournament he averaged 15 points and 5.5 rebounds. He ranks No. 5 in scoring (15.7 ppg) in the Big West, No. 4 in rebounding (6.8) and No. 10 in assists (2.5 apg). He's had two double-doubles -- at Central Michigan with 15 points and 10 rebounds and vs. UCI with 17 points and 10 rebounds -- and been one rebound shy of three more.

MORGAN SHINES IN TOUGHEST SPOTS: Marcus Morgan has had his best statistical games against the tougher opponents this season. At Arizona he scored 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while playing solid defense. At Saint Mary's he had another strong defensive game and had 7 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. His biggest play of the year was blocking the potential game-winning layup by Montana's Andrew Strait with one second left in regulation on Dec. 20. He has made 14-of-23 field goals (.609) in Big West play. He has made 9 of 10 free throws since going 0-for-5 vs. UC Irvine on Jan. 4.

CRENSHAW SPARK PLUG: Junior guard Marcus Crenshaw, the Big West Conference's Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07, continues to provide an offensive spark off the bench, ranking as the Titans' No. 4 scorer at 9.5 points per game. He started at Montana (and Central Michigan) after 31 consecutive appearances off the bench. He also started his first three games as a Titan in November of 2006 when the roster was short three suspended players. With 123 3-point baskets as a Titan, he has moved into the No. 9 spot on the Titans' career list (7 behind Joe Small in eighth place) but he is still 42 attempts away from that Top Ten. In the last six home games he is 18-for-32 (.563) from behind the arc compared to 9-for-29 (.310) over the last six road games.

RUSSELL ERUPTS: Point guard Junior Russell has been a Jekyl-Hyde scorer this season. He has scored 9 or more points 5 times and had 3 or less on nine occasions. Twice he has scored 16 points -- at Central Michigan and vs. Cal Poly, when he got 8 points in the first four minutes en route to a 6-for-6 shooting effort that included four treys. He missed most of the second half vs. Furman due to a head injury. He had a season-high 5 steals vs. UC Santa Barbara.

TWO-HEADED POINT GUARD: The Titans have replaced departed point guard Bobby Brown (starring in Germany) with the tandem of Junior Russell and Marcus Crenshaw. The righthanded Russell usually starts but southpaw Crenshaw has played more minutes (21.6 to 19.6 mpg). Russell has 42 assists to 36 for Crenshaw. Combined, they are averaging 15.1 points and 4.9 assists, not far off Brown's senior year numbers of 20.2 ppg and 5.1 apg.

INSTANT OFFENSE: Like Marcus Crenshaw, Marcio Lassiter has provided an offensive spark off the bench. The transfer from San Francisco City College scored 9 points in 11 minutes at Montana, 8 points in 19 minutes vs. Montana, 11 points in 10 minutes vs. Furman and 5 points in 3 minutes vs. UC Santa Barbara.

TOUGH FIELD: Cal State Fullerton will represent the Big West Conference in the 2008 Anaheim Classic on Thanksgiving Weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. The ESPN-televised tourney will feature an even stronger field than the inaugural event of 2007 with Wake Forest, Arkansas, Providence, Arizona State, UTEP, Baylor and NC-Charlotte signed to join the Titans.

30-POINT VICTORIES: The Titans have won three games by 30 or more points (Southern Utah, Furman and at UC Riverside) this season and nine (one on the road) in Coach Bob Burton's four-plus year tenure. By comparison, predecessors Donny Daniels had one 30-or-more-point win in three seasons, Bob Hawking had four (one on the road) in six seasons, Brad Holland had none in two seasons, John Sneed had one in four seasons, George McQuarn had 10 (one on the road) in eight seasons and Bobby Dye had seven (two on the road) in six seasons. The list of road Div. I era 30-point wins: 101-69 at Cal State Bakersfield on 1/3/76; 87-56 at Cal State Northridge on 11/27/76; 90-60 at Hawaii on 11/27/83; 89-57 at UC Irvine on 1/25/97; and 77-47 at UC Riverside on 1/7/08.

FALL SIGNEES: The Titans signed two incoming players during the November signing period -- Aaron Thompson, a 6-4, 205-pound junior wing from Cerritos College and previously of Washington High School in L.A.; and Jacques Streeter, a 6-foot, 175-pound point guard at Finley Prep School in Las Vegas and previously at Fremont High School in L.A.