Rivalry Game Against 49ers Regaining Flavor?

Feb. 17, 2009

Fullerton, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Wed., Feb. 18 -- Long Beach State, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 21 -- at New Mexico State, Pan-American Center (12,482), ESPNU Bracket Buster, 7 p.m. MST
Thur., Feb. 26 -- at UC Riverside, Recreation Center (3,168), 7 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (13-12, 7-6) host Long Beach State in a rematch of their Jan. 29 thriller at The Pyramid, which Fullerton won, 61-60, in an atmosphere reminiscent of the schools' heated rivalry of the late 1970s when every game seemed to go down to the last shot and was played in front of raucous crowds. A standing-room only throng of 4,263 including a couple of busloads of Fullerton fans and seemingly every 49er student athlete saw Josh Akognon hit a game-winning jumper with 3.9 seconds to go.

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, Erik Pessolano and Patrick Alog will call the Long Beach 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. 23.2 3.3r Leads nation with 37 consecutive games with a trey; nation's No. 7 scorer
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 10.5 4.1a Had 9 assists, 6-of-6 at foul line all in second half at UC Davis
G 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. 5.4 2.4r Averaging 6.9 points over last eight games, six as a starter
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 5.1 3.5r Matched career high with 12 points vs. Cal Poly; leads team with .646 FG%
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 9.6 6.1r Scored in double figures in five of last eight games; 9-of-11 FGs at UC Davis
OFF THE BENCH:
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Sr. 9.3 2.7r Exploded for 15 second-half points at UC Davis; career high for a game is 17
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 3.8 4.4r Second in Big West with 1.40 blocked shots per game
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 7.2 3.4r Had season-high 19 points at UC Davis, 14 in first half
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 1.0 0.9a Erupted for season-high 10 points at Pacific on Feb. 12
F 5 Regan Andersen 6-7 Jr. 1.6 1.5r Well-traveled Milwaukee native; walk-on transfer from Oxnard College
G 44 Kwasi Mensah 6-3 Fr. 0.0 0.2r Walk-on from Rancho Cucamonga HS
DISABLED LIST:
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 0.8 0.8r 4 points on 2-for-2 shooting at Montana State; out due to ankle injury

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 have played Long Beach State more than any other school, trailing in the series, 57-39, despite winning the last three meetings. Fullerton is 21-16 in Titan Gym vs. the 49ers

ABOUT THE 49ers: Long Beach State (12-11, 7-4) has been idle since a 73-70 double overtime loss at UC Riverside on Feb. 11. Leading scorer Donovan Morris (15.6 pg) has been in and out of the lineup since the last Titan-49er matchup with a foot problem. Freshman T. J. Robinson has stepped up and is averaging a team-best 13.2 ppg and 8.5 rebounds in Big West games. His overall numbers are 10.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 105-72 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 6-6 vs. Long Beach State (3-2 in Titan Gym) and 3-0 vs. Dan Monson.

FRIENDLY CONFINES?: Under Bob Burton, the Titans are 54-22 (.711) in Historic Titan Gym but only 6-4 this season and only 2-4 in Big West home games. Fullerton's all-time Div. I Titan Gym record is 279-156 (.641). Fullerton also is 1-8 in regular season home games at the Anaheim Convention Center.

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 a 6-point loss to Wake Forest. In 13 conference games, the margin of victory has been by 7 points or less on eight 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; a 7-point win vs. UCSB, a 4-point loss in OT at UC Irvine and a 3-point loss vs. Cal Poly.

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 10 of the 13 games (exceptions: +3 at Cal Poly, +10 at CSUN, +1 at Davis) including all six home games by an average of 10.8 points. They have come back to win four times (at UCSB, at Long Beach, vs. UCR and vs. UCSB). The season's record when trailing at the half is 4-10 (8-1 when leading at half, 1-1 when tied). Last year's team was 0-6 when trailing at the half but 24-2 when leading and 0-1 when tied. See chart on later page.

BIG COMEBACKS: Fullerton has fashioned some remarkable comebacks this season. Against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 5, the Titans trailed by 19 points at the half and were down, 47-25 with 17:30 to play. But they finished the game with a 47-18 run to win, 72-65. At UCSB on Jan. 10 they trailed by 13 with 4:30 to go in the first half but caught up 6 minutes into the second half and went on to win, 62-58. At UC Davis on Saturday they went from a 28-15 deficit with 9 minutes to go in the first half to a 69-56 lead at 12:05 of the second half, a 54-28 run over less than 17 minutes. At Long Beach on Jan. 29 they were down, 39-26, with 17:30 to play and came back to win, 61-60, finishing the game with a 35-21 run. Even in defeat vs. Cal Poly on Feb. 7, they went from a 31-20 deficit with 4:45 to go in the first half to a 53-43 lead with 12:38 to play, a 33-12 run over a little more than 12 minutes.

MISSING TREYS: Fullerton has tumbled to seventh place in the Big West Conference in 3-point field goal percentage at .335. Jacques Streeter was leading the Big West earlier but has been in a 6-game slump to fall to .442, right at the school record. Josh Akognon (.350) and Chris Rhymes (.314) are next in line with Marcio Lassiter (.295) and Aaron Thompson (.240) struggling.

LOSING BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: Not surprisingly, given the heights on the roster, rebounding has been a problem for the Titans in 2008-09, particularly at the defensive end... In Big West Conference games, the Titans have outrebounded their opponent only twice -- 38-36 at Long Beach State and 36-34 at UC Davis... Although outrebounded by only about 4.6 per game, the Titans have had some glaring disparities and have given up 14.5 offensive rebounds per game... Four of the six 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, minus 18 (37 vs. 19) in a win at home over Montana State and minus 17 (49 vs. 32) in Thursday's win over UCSB... The only 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; UCSB had 22 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 Saturday 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 the12,482-seat Pan Am Center.

JUMBLED STANDINGS: Although the Big West Conference standings reflect great parity, it will take some doing to match the closeness of the 1975-76 race in the Big West's previous incarnation as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. The 6-team standings that season ended up with Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State as co-champions at 6-4 followed by San Jose State and San Diego State, each at 5-5, and Fresno State and Pacific, each at 4-6.

NEW PARKING FEE: Effective since Feb. 7, 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.