January 30, 2009

Titan Men Try to Stop Home-Court Slump

Jan. 30, 2009

Fullerton, Calif. -

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader


UPCOMING:
Sat. Jan. 31 -- UC Riverside, Titan Gym (4,000), 6:05 p.m
Thur., Feb. 5 -- UC Santa Barbara, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 7 -- Cal Poly SLO, Titan Gym (4,000), 6:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: The unpredictable Titans (10-10, 4-4) try to overcome a seeming oxymoron -- home-court disadvantage -- when they host surprising UC Riverside Saturday night in the first of three consecutive home games. Fullerton has played five Big West Conference road games with each going down to the final seconds and only an overtime loss at UC Irvine mars an otherwise perfect 4-1 record. However, in the three Big West home games the Titans have lost three times by an average of 17.3 points, trailing by double digits at the half in each of them.

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 and Eric Pessalano will call the UC Riverside game.

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. 23.4 3.4r Nation's No. 8 scorer hit game winner at Long Beach with 3.9 seconds to go
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 11.3 4.1a Last 9 games averaging 15.3 points but had only 2 at Long Beach
G 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 5.4 2.3r Season-best 13 points vs. Pacific; 9 points, 6 rebounds as starter at CSUN
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 5.0 3.3r Leads team with .603 field-goal percentage; got 10 points at Long Beach
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 9.6 6.1r Scoreless at Long Beach after back-to-back double digit games
OFF THE BENCH:
G 11 Marcio Lassiter* 6-2 Sr. 9.3 2.8r Made 3 key second-half buckets at Long Beach; 17 matched career best at CSUN
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 4.0 4.7r Second in Big West with 1.55 blocked shots per game
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 7.3 3.7r Scoreless in last 2 games and only 18 points total in last 6 games
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 0.7 0.9a Scored first points on Mainland with deuce vs. CSU Bakersfield
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 0.8 0.8r 4 points on 2-for-2 shooting at Montana State
F 5 Regan Andersen 6-7 Jr. 1.6 1.4r 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 lead the all-time series, 18-14, and hold a 10-7 lead since 2000-01 when the Highlanders began the move to Div. I status. Fullerton won all three meetings last season, by 30 at UCR, by 11 at home and by 12 in the Big West Conference Tournament. UCR last won in Titan Gym on Feb. 4, 2006, 78-73 in OT.

ABOUT THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside is enjoying a breakout Div. I season, already matching the most victories in a single season at 11-8, 3-4 in the Big West. USC transfer forward Kyle Austin leads the way at 16.8 ppg and 5.6 rpg. Javon Borum is averaging 10.1 points overall and is shooting 52 percent from the 3-point line in conference play.

COACHES VS. CANCER: Bob Burton and his staff will be wearing sneakers Saturday night to demonstrate their support for the American Cancer Society and the fight against cancer. Fans are encouraged to wear sneakers to games to demonstrate their support.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 102-70 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .593, 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). Burton is 3-0 vs. UC Riverside but only 3-1 vs. Coach Jim Wooldridge, who beat Fullerton, 84-59, on Nov. 30, 2006 at Kansas State.

FRIENDLY CONFINES????: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 52-21 (.712) in Historic Titan Gym but have lost their last three home games after a 4-0 start to this season. Fullerton's all-time Div. I Titan Gym record is 277-155 (.641). Fullerton also is 1-8 in regular season home games at the Anaheim Convention Center.

SLOW STARTS: The Titans have gotten off to a decent start in their last two games after miserable beginnings in the first six Big West contests. At both Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara, the Titans fell behind, 9-0, to start the game... And at home vs. Cal State Northridge on Dec. 29, they found themselves in a 10-0 hole... At UCI they got off to an early 6-2 lead but then fell behind, 15-10... Jan. 15 vs. UC Davis they saw an 8-8 tie turn into a 23-12 deficit and on Jan. 17 vs. Pacific they fell behind 4-0 and 16-9 and never led. At Northridge on Jan. 21 they jumped out 6-0 and 18-8 and held Long Beach to a 10-10 draw throught the first 7:30.

MISSING LINK: Finding a consistent third 3-point shooter to complement Josh Akognon and Jacques Streeter is becoming a more elusive goal for the Titans. Aaron Thompson hasn't made a trey in the last six games (0-for-10), is only 2-for-19 in his past 9 games and is at .195 for the season. Marcio Lassiter was 0-for-7 in the last two home games and is up to only .297 for the season after going 5-of-11 in the last two games.

NOTEWORTHY TRIP: Fullerton's sweep of the Central Coast trip to SLO and Santa Barbara was only its second in the 13 years Cal Poly has been in the Big West. There also have been eight splits and three 0-2's. And the 62-58 win at UCSB was noteworthy since it was the lowest scoring victory in the Bob Burton Era as well as Fullerton's first this season after trailing at the half (by 7). However, the Titans did better at Long Beach, winning 61-60 after trailing by 8 at the half (now 2-8).

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, particularly at the defensive end... Although outrebounded by only about 4.2 per game and dead even in the last two, the Titans have had some glaring disparities and have given up 14.3 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.

BIG WEST LEADERS: Just beyond the midway point of the regular season, the Titans are in the middle of the pack in most Big West Conference team categories. They lead only in scoring (75.2 ppg), 3-point field goals made (7.85) and blocked shots (3.70) while being last only in scoring defense (75.5 ppg). Individually, Josh Akognon leads the Big West in scoring (23.4 ppg), free-throw percentage (.894) and 3-pointers made per game (3.85)... Gerard Anderson is No. 2 in steals at 1.74 and Jacques Streeter is No. 3 in 3-point FG percentage at .485... Papa Guisse is No. 2 in blocked shots at 1.55 and Streeter is No. 2 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.91.

NEW PARKING FEE: Effective with Saturday's game vs. UC Riverside, an \$8 special events parking fee will be charged at all weekend Cal State Fullerton home men's basketball and baseball games. Previously, parking fees were charged only for weeknight games.