Rested Titans Host UC Riverside on Saturday

Feb. 3, 2006

Fulllerton, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Sat., Feb. 4 -- vs. UC Riverside, Titan Gym (4,000), 2:05 p.m.
Thur., Feb. 9 -- Pacific, Titan Gym (4,000), 8:05 p.m. ESPN2-TV
Sat., Feb. 11 -- Cal State Northridge, Titan Gym (4,000), 2:05 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (10-8, 3-5) has only one game this week, hosting UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon in the opener of a season-long 3-game homestand. The Titans can use the extra two days of rest considering that classes start this week, they are recuperating from a triple-overtime win at UC Davis on Saturday and forward Jamaal Brown is recovering from a broken nose suffered with about 9 minutes to play.

"RADIO": All ROAD Big West Conference games 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 HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside is 2-16 overall and 2-5 in the Big West and will be even more rested than the Titans, not playing since a 75-69 loss at UC Davis on Jan. 26. The Highlanders have lost five in a row since winning at Pacific on Jan. 7. Included in that run was a 90-79 home loss to Fullerton on Jan. 14. Guard Rickey Porter ranks No. 5 in the Big West in scoring at 16.3 points per game. Dedrick Bates is No. 2 for UCR at 11.7 ppg.

PROBABLE FULLERTON STARTERS:

No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg rpg Quick Notes
F 1 Jamaal Brown* 6-7 Sr. 16.6 8.2
Suffered broken nose with 9 minutes to go in regulation at UC Davis
C 5 Justin Burns 6-6 Jr. 9.3 6.7
Posted three double-doubles in last seven games; 16 rebounds at UC Davis
G 3 Bobby Brown 6-1 Jr. 18.0 2.9
Only 18 points in 2 games vs. UC Irvine on bad left ankle
G 23 Vershan Cottrell 6-2 Sr. 5.3 3.3
Career highs of 8 rebounds, 6 assists to go with 12 points at UC Riverside
G 14 Jermaine Harper 6-3 Sr. 9.2 2.7
Had 21 points at UC Davis; averaging 14.9 points over last 8 games

OFF THE BENCH:
G 0 Frank Robinson 6-4 So. 10.1 4.9
Scored 30 points last 2 games after only 9 points in 3 previous games
G 22 John Clemmons 6-0 Sr. 3.0 1.9
Career-high 10 points vs. UCSB, at UC Irvine and at UC Davis
G 33 Jerard Moret 6-4 Fr. 4.5 3.4
Had career-high 13 points at UC Irvine; missed 4 games with broken finger
C 15 Curtis Battles 6-10 Jr. 2.0 2.0
Has played 34 minutes in past six games
C 34 Gary Nunez 6-7 Jr. 3.2 1.6
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 13 minutes vs. Hope and at UC Irvine


THE COACH: Bob Burton is 42-36 in his third year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .538, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). He is 4-1 vs. UC Riverside, winning the last four meetings.

SERIES HISTORY: Fullerton leads the all-time series, 14-12, with a 6-5 edge since UCR opted for Div. I. The Titans have won the last four meetings and are 4-2 in Titan Gym with both programs at the Div. I level. On Jan. 14, Fullerton won at UCR, 90-79, despite an early 11-3 UCR lead. Fullerton built a lead as large as 18 points, UCR cut it to 8 on two occasions, but CSF responded with an 8-0 run (7 points by Jamaal Brown) and maintained a double digit advantage.

BENCH ERUPTS: Fullerton's reserves scored only 6 points total in the last two home games before erupting for 46 of the team's 68 points at UC Irvine and 29 of 94 at UC Davis.

BRACKET BUSTERS: Fullerton will host Eastern Washington in a non-televised game at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18.

BROWNS PAYING THE PRICE: Junior Bobby (18.0 pg) and senior Jamaal (16.6 ppg) have scored 44 percent of the Titans' points this year and ranked Nos. 2 & 4, respectively, in the Big West Conference in scoring as of Jan. 28. They rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the Big West in minutes played and both are far from 100 percent healthy. Bobby had some back and ankle problems and Jamaal has back and nose problems.

ALL EYES ON BOBBY: The opposing defenses and professional scouts have kept Bobby Brown under close scrutiny this year. He is the 18th member of the Titans' 1,000-point club and currently ranks No. 10 at 1,231. At No. 9 with 1,240 points is Keith Anderson (1975-79). Bobby has 313 career assists and needs 26 more to crack the all-time Titan top five. 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 205. He made the all-tournament team at both USF and FIU. He has had some remarkably dissimilar scoring halves this season, to wit: 6 in the first half and 18 in the second half at San Jose State; 6 and 22 vs. Cal Poly; 10 and 0 vs. UCSB; 0 and 17 vs. CSU Northridge; 18 and 4 at Pacific; 0 and 17 (including overtimes) at UC Davis.

JAMAAL THE INSIDE FORCE: Senior Jamaal Brown sat out almost the entire second half at UCI due to back problems after scoring only 4 points with 3 rebounds and then broke his nose with about 9 minutes to play at UC Davis after totaling 8 points and 3 rebounds. He posted his third 30-point game of the year with 31 vs. Long Beach State on Jan. 19, making 13 of 16 shots. 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 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) to go with eight last year for a total of 12 to tie for seventh place on the Titans' career list. He began the week No. 3 in the Big West with a .500 field goal percentage.

BURNS CONTINUES TO IMPROVE: Junior Justin Burns was easily the most improved Titan player from the end of last season through the November-December schedule and he has continued to make progress. He has posted three double-doubles in the last seven games. His absence due to foul trouble was critical in the losses at USF, vs. Cal Poly and at Pacific. He begins the week ranked fifth in the Big West in rebounding at 6.7 per game after a career-best 16 at UC Davis on Saturday. He had the best game of his career at Cal State Northridge on Jan. 7, scoring a career-high 18 points and matching his previous rebounding best with 10. He nearly matched it at UC Riverside 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 is averaging 14.9 points over the last eight games with only a 2-point effort at UC Irvine on Jan. 25 interrupting an impressive streak. Over that span he has made 26-of-53 (.491) from the 3-point line after making only 3-of-22 from behind the arc in the previouis five games. In the first 10 games of the season he was 9-of-44 from trey-land. In his Titan career he has had seven games of 20 or more points and 16 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 .361 and is on pace to make about 54. He has jumped into the Titan career Top Ten for 3-point field goals made (105 - tie with Wayne Williams) and will be tied for No. 10 in attempts when he takes two more to bring his total to 290, which also will tie Williams (1988-89 thru 1990-91 seasons).

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 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds and has started 14 times.

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 six games, contributing 7 points and 12 rebounds in a total of 34 minutes. He did not play a single minute in the previous fives games.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 21-11 (.656) in Titan Gym, posting the first consecutive winning seasons at home since 1997-98 and 1998-99, but are only 3-3 this season vs. 7-5 away. Burton's 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 24 home games.

ROBINSON BREAKS SLUMP: Sophomore Frank Robinson had been the key Titan off the bench before earning a starter's role at Pacific. Since then, his contributions had diminished with only 9 points in the next 3 games. But he led the team at UC Irvine with 17 points and had 4 rebounds and 3 steals and then came off the bench for 13 points and 8 rebounds in 25 minutes at UC Davis before fouiling out. He is the Titans' No. 3 scorer at 10.1 points per game and the No. 3 rebounder at 4.9 per game. 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.

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) and matched those numbers at UCI and again at UC Davis. His assist/turnover ratio (48/20) is outstanding at 2.40-to-1 (the Big West leader is CSUN's Bakari Altheimer at 2.17) but Clemmons needs to have 3 assists per game to qualify for the conference leader board and currently he is averaging only 2.82. He had 7 assists and no turnovers in 14 minutes vs. Long Beach State and 4 assists and 1 turnover in 15 minutes vs. UC Irvine on Jan. 21.

WESTCHESTER CONNECTION: Assistant Coach Marlon Morton joined 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 team accomplished a remarkable number of positive statistics and records, most notably tying for the second most victories (21) in a Div. I season (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. The Titans have not had consecutive winning seasons since 1983-84 and 1984-85.

HALFTIME INDICATORS: Fullerton is 6-5 after leading at the half, 1-0 when tied and 3-3 when trailing. The Titans have outscored the competition in first halves, 668-578, but have been outscored by 42 points in the second halves and by 1 point in overtimes.

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 1-2. In each loss 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.