Winning Streak on Line Against Gauchos

Feb. 3, 2009

Fullerton, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
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.
Thur., Feb. 12 -- at Pacific, Spanos Center (6,150), 7 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: Riding the momentum of a season's best 3-game winning streak and above .500 for the first time, the Titans (11-10, 5-4) try to utilize home-court advantage this week as they face two teams they already have beaten on the road. But since six of the seven Big West games last week were won by the visiting team, maybe home-court advantage isn't. Fullerton snapped a 3-game home-court losing streak Saturday with a gritty 58-52 win over UC Riverside, the only exception to last week's Big West rule.

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 Erik Pessalano will call the UC Santa Barbara 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. 23.0 3.4r Big West Player (co-) of the Week for the fourth time
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 11.5 4.1a Averaging 15.5 points over last 10 games; on CSF record pace for 3-pt FG%
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. 4.7 3.1r Leads team with .603 field-goal percentage; got 10 points at Long Beach
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 9.7 6.1r Had 11 points, 6 rebounds vs. UC Riverside
OFF THE BENCH:
G 11 Marcio Lassiter* 6-2 Sr. 9.1 3.0r Averaging 4.5 assists over last 4 games
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. 7.0 3.5r Only 2 total points in last 3 games and only 20 points total in last 7 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 trail the Gauchos in the all-time series, 34-32, after a 62-58 win in Goleta on Jan. 10. Fullerton is 17-15 against the Gauchos in Titan Gym including an 87-72 loss last season.

ABOUT THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara (8-12, 2-6) has lost three games in a row. The Gauchos have lost all three of their close conference games -- by 4 points to Fullerton and by 2 to both UC Riverside and CSU Northridge. Vs. Fullerton they turned the ball over on the last pivotal possession, at UCR they made a 3-pointer AFTER the buzzer and vs. CSUN last week a last-second 3-pointer bounced off the rim. UCSB is last in the Big West in 3-point field goal percentage at .327 (Fullerton is No. 8 at .331) and last in assist-to-turnover ratio at 0.78. Chris Devine is the No. 4 scorer in the Big West at 14.6 ppg and he's No. 6 in rebounding at 6.3 rpg. He's also No. 2 in field goal percentage at .524.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 103-70 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .595, 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 7-5 against his good friend Bob Williams of UCSB, 3-2 in Titan Gym.

FRIENDLY CONFINES????: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 53-21 (.716) in Historic Titan Gym but only 5-3 after a 4-0 start to this season. Fullerton's all-time Div. I Titan Gym record is 278-155 (.642). Fullerton also is 1-8 in regular season home games at the Anaheim Convention Center.

WINNING STREAK: Fullerton's current 3-game winning streak is its longest of the season. Last year's team won three or more in a row five times. It doesn't apply this week, but Fullerton's 4-game ROAD winning streak (last loss in OT at UCI on Jan. 3) equals the longest of the Bob Burton Era (at UCSB, at Cal Poly, at Oregon State and at USF in February and March of 2005).

CLOSE TO YOU: In 12 non-conference games, Fullerton had only two games decided by 6 or fewer points -- a 1-point loss at Portland State and 6-point loss to Wake Forest. In only nine conference games, the margin of victory has been by 6 points or less on six occasions -- a 1-point win at Long Beach; 4-point wins at Cal Poly, at UCSB and at CSUN; a 6-point win vs. UC Riverside and a 4-point loss in OT at UC Irvine.

SECOND-HALF TEAM: Early in the season, the Titans had a problem coming out slowly to begin the second half. Since the beginning of Big West Conference play, that trend has changed. Now they are starting the game slowly and have trailed at the half (by an average of 10 points) in seven of the nine games. They have come back to win three of those (at UCSB, at Long Beach and vs. UCR). The season's record when trailing at the half is 3-8 (7-1 when leading at half, 1-1 when tied).

SCORING DEFENSE: The Titans have allowed only 112 points in the last two games, the third lowest total in consecutive games in the Bob Burton Era. On Feb. 3 and Feb. 7, 2005, both UCR and UC Davis scored 55 points each for a total of 110. Those games were preceded by a 68-59 home win over UCSB and that 3-game total of 169 is the lowest in the Burton Era. The second best back-to-back scoring defensive efforts was 111 points -- 47 at UCR on Jan. 7 and 64 at home vs. Cal Poly on Jan. 10 of last season.

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 seven games (0-for-11), is only 2-for-20 in his past 10 games and is at .190 for the season. Marcio Lassiter was 0-for-7 in the last homestand and is up to only .290 for the season after going 5-of-13 in the last three games. Chris Rhymes is 2-for-12 as a starter and 6-for-18 in conference play.

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 (at the time but since twice beaten) the lowest scoring victory in the Bob Burton Era as well as Fullerton's first this season after trailing at the half (by 7). The Titans did better at Long Beach, winning 61-60 after trailing by 8 at the half and then beat UCR, 58-52, after being down 5 at intermission.

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, the Titans have had some glaring disparities and have given up 14.5 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 LSU, Central Michigan and UCR each 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.

BACK TO LAS CRUCES: Cal State Fullerton will face former conference foe New Mexico State in the ESPNU Bracket Buster series on Feb. 21 in Las Cruces. The Aggies were in the PCAA/Big West from the 1983-84 through 1999-2000 seasons and hold a 23-7 lead in the series. Fullerton last played in the Pan American Center on Jan. 8, 1998, losing in double overtime, 89-87. The Titans are 2-12 in the13,000-seat Pan Am Center.

NEW PARKING FEE: Effective with Saturday's game vs. Cal Poly SLO, 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.

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