Titans Try to Hold onto Second Place

Feb. 21, 2007

Fullerton, Calif. -

UPCOMING:
Thur., Feb. 22 -- UC Santa Barbara, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m. -- KVMD - TV
Sat., Feb. 24 -- Cal Poly SLO, Titan Gym, 1:05 p.m. -- FSN Prime Ticket TV -- (note time change to accommodate TV coverage)
Sat. Mar. 3 -- at UC Davis, 7 p.m.

CHALK TALK: Assistant Coach Andy Newman will preview the Cal Poly game at a pre-game "chalk talk" for the Titan Athletics Club on Saturday at 11 a.m. at University Village, located on the north
side of Yorba Linda Blvd. at Associated Road. There is no charge.


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IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (18-7, 8-4) is fighting for a top two seed and possibly two byes in the Big West Conference post-season tournament and meets its immediate rivals this week in Titan Gym in the first two televised games of the season. Fullerton hosts UC Santa Barbara (15-9, 6-4) on Thursday night and Cal Poly SLO (14-10, 5-5 and at UCR on Thursday) on Saturday afternoon. Fullerton plays only at UC Davis next week while UCSB and Cal Poly are hosting Pacific and Cal State Northridge. Fullerton is coming off its first consecutive losses of the season while UCSB has lost three in a row and Cal Poly has won three in a row. Fullerton won at Cal Poly and lost at Santa Barbara back in December.

INTERNET 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 and Todd Reeves will handle the play-by-play for both games. INTERNET 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
C 5 Justin Burns** 6-7 Sr. 10.7 6.8r Fourth in the Big West in rebounding, second in double-doubles with 6
F 2 Scott Cutley 6-5 Jr. 16.6 9.2r Leads Big West in rebounding; fourth in scorin, fifth in FG percentage
G 3 Bobby Brown*** 6-2 Sr. 19.8 5.2a CSF's No. 2 career scorer trails Leon by 26 pts.; Cousy Award finalist
G 22 Ray Reed 5-11 Jr. 8.4 3.2a Averaging only 3.9 points over last 7 games
G 0 Frank Robinson* 6-4 Jr. 11.9 5.3r Played huge part in sweep of UCI including game-winner at Bren

OFF THE BENCH:
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw 5-10 So. 11.2 2.3a Definite candidate for "sixth man of year" award;
C 42 Andrew Green 6-6 Jr. 3.9 2.9r Had 8 points in 12 minutes vs. UCR; 6 points, 6 boards at UC Irvine
F 43 Chris Minardo 6-10 So. 3.9 2.1r Had 5 points, 4 rebounds in 11 quality minutes at Pepperdine
F 34 Marcus Morgan 6-5 Jr. 1.7 2.6r Played 26 minutes last week with 5 points and 8 rebounds
F 21 Kenneth Alexander 6-6 Jr. 3.3 3.0r Key reserve at UoP with 7 points, 5 rebounds in 19 minutes
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORIES: UC Santa Barbara snapped a 5-game losing streak to Fullerton with an 84-76 victory back on Dec. 30 in Goleta. The Gauchos have lost their last two games in Titan Gym after winning on the previous seven trips.

Cal Poly leads the all-time series, 26-18, and 12-9 at the Div. I level. Fullerton won the conference opener on Dec. 28 in San Luis Obispo, 99-91.

ABOUT THE TITANS: The Titans have clinched their third consecutive winning season, something that hadn't been done in Fullerton since Coach George McQuarn posted four winning records between 1981-82 and 1984-85. They have totaled as many as 18 victories for only the fifth time in the school's 33-year Div. I history. Only three teams (23-9 in 1977-78; 21-8 in 1982-83; and 21-11 in 2004-05) have won more than 18. The Titans feature three returning "regulars" in seniors Bobby Brown at point guard and Justin Burns at center and junior guard Frank Robinson, who was the Big West Conference's "sixth-man" of the year in 2005-06. Four-year transfers Scott Cutley and Marcus Crenshaw from Kent State and Ray Reed from Georgetown have made an immediate impact along with community college transfers Andrew Green from College of the Sequoias, Kenneth Alexander and Marcus Morgan from West Valley and Chris Minardo from Citrus College. Four of the five starters plus Crenshaw are averaging in double figures in scoring. Losses last week to Long Beach State and Wright State dropped the Titans from No. 15 to No. 24 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 66-48 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .579, he has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, having again fallen behind Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). The recent 5-game winning streak matched a similar one in 2004-05 for the best of the Burton Era. He is 5-3 vs. UCSB (2-1 in Titan Gym) and 4-3 vs. Cal Poly (2-1 in Titan Gym).

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 36-14 (.720) in Titan Gym and had a 15-game winning streak until last week's loss to Long Beach State. They are 11-1 this season. In Big West play they are 4-1 at home, where they were only 2-5 last year.

HOME-COURT WIN STREAKS: This was Fullerton's fifth double-digit home-court winning streak since moving to Div. I in 1974-75. 26 games - Jan. 30, 1982 thru Jan. 21, 1984; ended on Jan. 26, 1984 in an 81-80 loss to UC Irvine 15 games - Feb. 11, 2006, thru Jan. 27, 2007; ended on Feb. 14, 2007 in a 94-84 loss to Long Beach State 13 games - Feb. 4, 1989 thru Feb. 3, 1990; ended on Feb. 15, 1990 in a 75-70 loss to UC Santa Barbara 12 games - Feb. 6, 1992 thru Feb. 6, 1993; ended on Feb. 10, 1993 in a 77-63 loss to Houston 10 games - Jan. 20, 1977 thru Dec. 19, 1977; ended on Jan. 7, 1978 in an 88-85 loss to Illinois State

BEST HOME RECORDS: Fullerton's best home record for a season is 13-0 in 1982-83, which was the heart of the 26-game streak. The next-best marks by percentage are: .889 (8-1) in 1975-76; .846 (11-2) in 1977-78; .838 (9-2) in 1976-77; and .833 (10-2) in 1981-82 and 2004-05. The overall Titan Gym record at the Div. I level (since 1974-75) is .637 (260-148).

NEW FRILLS: Not coincidental to the recent home success, a squad of cheerleaders was added to the home court ambience for last season. Along with a flag carrier and a new student band, they join the entertainment package headed by the dance team, which in early January in Orlando, Florida, won its seventh national championship (Div. I, non-football schools).

ON THE ROAD: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past two seasons plus this year to date they are 27-23 (.540) away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115 (.207). Burton's total CSF road record is 30-34 (.469).

Bobby Brown: Senior point guard Bobby Brown is the focal point of the Cal State Fullerton program. An unheralded product of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, he has developed into one of the nation's finest players and an All-America candidate. He tested the NBA draft waters last summer but opted to return for his senior year. He is one of 13 Div. I finalists for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard and is on CollegeInsider.com's pre-season Mid-Major All-American team. He made numerous pre-season All-Big West Conference teams and was projected as player of the year by many. Last year he was first-team All-Big West and second-team All-NABC District. He needs 27 more points to become the Titans' all-time leading scorer, surpassing All-American, Olympic gold medalist and 6-year NBA veteran Leon Wood. He passed Richard Morton (1,705) on Jan. 18 at Long Beach. At Pepperdine he passed Greg Bunch and Chris Dade to move into the No. 4 spot on the list and went to No. 3 ahead of Ike Harmon (at 1,557) during the second Louisiana-Lafayette game. Brown was selected Big West Conference player of the week after his 47-point game against Bethune-Cookman, the second highest scoring total in Big West history behind 53 by Raymond Lewis of Cal State L.A. on Feb. 23, 1973, vs. Long Beach State. The 46-year-old school record was 45 points by Jon Brettman vs. Luke Air Force Base on Dec. 12, 1960. The old school Div. I record was 38 by Morton on Jan. 7, 1988, vs. UC Irvine. Eleven 3-point field goals broke the CSF mark of 10 by Ryan Dillon (Jan. 31, 2001, vs. Boise State) and tied the Big West record of Chris Brown of UC Irvine on Mar. 13, 1994, vs. New Mexico State. On Feb. 8 at Pacific, Bobby moved into the No. 3 spot alone on the Big West Conference career 3-pointer list and currently is at 298. The record is 311 by Pacific's Adam Jacobsen in 1994-98 and second is Cal Poly's Mike Wozniak at 308.

AND MORE: Brown had been in a mild shooting slump, making only 38-of-101 field goals (.376) including 16-of-46 treys (.348) over the 7 games prior to last Wednesday night, when he had a career second-best 36 points on 13-for-24 shooting and 6-for-13 from behind the arc. He began this week ranked among the Big West leaders in every category except rebounding and blocked shots. He was No. 1 in assists (5.23 apg), No. 1 in 3-point field goals (3.23 per game), No. 2 in scoring (19.8 ppg), No. 4 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.49), No. 8 in steals (1.36 per game), No. 2 in minutes played (34.41 per game), No. 6 in 3-point field goal percentage (.425), No. 9 in free-throw percentage (.771) and No. 10 in field goal percentage (.473). At Cal State Northridge last Saturday night he scored the team's final 8 points including 6-of-6 at the foul line in the final 1:42 to hold off the Matadors, who had erased a 15-point Fullerton lead. Has 493 career assists and seven more will make him only the tenth Big West player with 500. He is third in CSF history behind Wood (744) and Wayne Williams (537).

Frank Robinson: The junior swingman has been playing with strained hamstrings the past few weeks yet still ranks No. 8 in scoring in Big West games only at 13.8 points per game. In his last six games he has had 18, 18, 19, 7, 19 and a season-low 2 points. He had his first game-winning shot as a Titan on Jan. 20 when he drilled a 3-pointer with one second remaining for a 71-68 victory at UC Irvine. In his only previous attempt at a game-winner, he missed a free-throw-line jumper with 5 seconds remaining in the first overtime of what became a triple-overtime CSF win at UC Davis on Jan. 28, 2006. Robinson just missed being the fourth Titan with a double-double vs. UC Riverside on Jan. 13 with 15 points and a season-high 9 rebounds.

Justin Burns: Posted his 11th career double-double and sixth this year with 14 points and 13 rebounds at UC Riverside on Feb. 3 but since then has managed only 26 points and 14 rebounds in the last four games combined and did not start for the first time at Wright State. He had a brilliant game vs. UCR on Jan. 13, getting a double-double in the first half with 15 points and 10 rebounds and finishing with 19 points on 9-for-11 shooting and 14 rebounds, just shy of his career highs of 22 points and 16 rebounds. He ranks No. 4 in the Big West in rebounding at 7.1 per game. He won Big West Conference Player of the Week honors in November when he posted his first pair of double-doubles in victories at Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana-Lafayette. He had a career second-best of 21 points vs. Texas-San Antonio. Since making 11-of-15 free throws in the first two Big West games at Cal Poly and UCSB, he is only 14-for-37 (.378) at the foul line but was 2-for-2 at Northridge.

Scott Cutley: Junior forward from Kent State seems impervious to injury. He has been playing since mid-December with a fractured left thumb and he needed x-rays on Feb. 13 after injuring his lower left leg, yet he played 37 minutes the next night vs. Long Beach State with another double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds), his conference-high ninth of the season. He earned Big West player of the week honors for his play in the home wins over UC Davis and UC Irvine in late January, making 20 of 27 shots including 6 of 9 3-pointers while averaging 26.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. He began this week ranked No. 1 in the Big West in rebounding at 9.2 per game, No. 4 in scoring at 16.6 ppg and No. 5 in field goal percentage at .511. In the last 11 games he is 15-for-31 (.484) from the 3-point line (after starting the year 2-for-13).

RAY REED: Georgetown transfer Ray Reed began the week leading the Titans and second in the Big West Conference in steals (1.84) and was second on the team and seventh in the conference in assists (3.24). He was in double figures in scoring in each of the first five games of the season but then went five games in single digits until a 15-point effort vs. San Jose State. He made only 1 of 11 field goals at Pepperdine but since then is 43-for-92 (.467) over the last 17 games despite a 5-for-19 effort in the last 4 games. He just missed a triple-double against Hope International when he had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

Marcus Crenshaw: Sophomore transfer from Kent State is a leading candidate for the Big West Conference's "sixth man" award. Since starting the first 3 games in a roster shortage and averaging 18 points, he has come off the bench to average 10.3 as a substitute, usually in bunches. At UCI he scored all 10 of his points in a span of 4:05 to fuel a second-half 14-6 CSF run. Against UCR on Jan. 13 he scored 17 points in 18 minutes. He had 19 points in 18 minutes vs. San Jose State and 15 points in 20 minutes vs. Cal State Northridge and then hit two huge treys at CSUN, the second putting Fullerton ahead to stay. He began this week second on the team and in the Big West in 3-point field goals made at 2.64 per game and No. 8 in percentage at .418. He matched his season high with 5 (in 8 tries) at Pacific. with 66 treys, he has tied for 12th place on the Titan single-season list. His total of 58 assists is No. 4 on the team. He has scored 0.514 points per minute played, second best on team to Bobby Brown's 0.575. Crenshaw had a rooting section about 70 strong at Wright State in Dayton on Saturday.

OUT OF THE BLOCKS: In 14 of their first 16 games, the Titans jumped out to double-digit first-half leads, but they failed to do so in games No. 17 through 24. They again accomplishing the feat at Wright State (+12) but led by only one point at the half.

LIVING RIGHT: Twice this season the Titans have survived 3-point field goal tries by opponents at the buzzer that would have turned CSF victories into defeat. And both times it was the opponent's leading scorer -- Ross Mouton at Louisiana-Lafayette and Marvin Lea at Pepperdine -- taking the shot. Ironically, in both games, the Titans led by 18 in the first half -- 29-11 at ULaLa and 30-12 at Pepperdine. And at Cal State Northridge on Feb. 10, Rob Haynes made a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds to go that would have tied the game had a foul not been called before the shot, negating the basket.

LONG DISTANCE DIALING DECISIVE: The Titans began this week second in the Big West behind Cal Poly in 3-pointers made (8.48 pg) and percentage (.379) and they are on a pace to make 245 treys in 648 attempts in a 29-game season. The "makes" would challenge the school record (current mark is 253 in 2004-05) while the attempts would still fall well shy of the 716 atempted in a 32-game schedule in 2004-05. The Titans set a school record by attempting 33 treys on Jan. 4 vs. Cal State Northridge and tied the single-game mark for makes with 14 at Cal Poly on Dec. 28. Yet poor 3-point field goal shooting has been critical in all of their losses, particularly the Big West defeats -- 5-for-20 at UCSB, 6-for-23 and 8-for-23 vs. Long Beach State and 2-for-16 at UC Riverside. They were 6-of-21 (.286) at Wright State.

FREE THROWS: Free throw shooting had become a problem for the Titans until the last three games. After 13 games they were shooting .714 (190 of 266). In the next 9 games they made only 101 of 190 (.532) but in the last three games are 44-for-59 (.746). They have shot under 50 percent vs. CSUN, UCR, UCI (twice) and Pacific. Three times their 3-point percentage has been better than their free-throw percentage.

RECORDS ARE FALLING: While the 2004-05 team dramatically changed the direction of the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball program, the current edition has found a way to make some history of its own in addition to the best overall and conference start in 24 years. To wit:
&\#149; posted third consecutive winning season, something not accomplished since 1981-82 thru 1984-85 (4 in a row)
&\#149; second-longest home-court winning streak (15 games) in school's Div. I history
&\#149; swept season series from Pacific for the first time since 1988-89 and from UC Irvine for first time since 1998-99
&\#149; largest margin of victory in a conference game (40 points -- 98-58 vs. UC Riverside on Jan. 13)
&\#149; tied largest margin of victory for any game (52 points -- 108-56 vs. California Maritime on Nov. 10)
&\#149; most 3-point field goals attempted (33 -- vs. Cal State Northridge on Jan. 4)
&\#149; tied record for most 3-point field goals made (14 -- at Cal Poly on Dec. 28)
&\#149; most points in a losing effort (110-100 loss at Eastern Washington on Nov. 27)
&\#149; points in a game by an individual (47 -- by Bobby Brown vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 16)
&\#149; most 3-point field goals in a game by an individual (11 -- by Bobby Brown vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 16)
&\#149; handed Louisiana-Lafayette its first home non-conference loss in four years, ending a 17-game win streak in the Cajundome
&\#149; earned first video coverage in the 5-year-old O'Reilly ESPNU Bracket Buster series
&\#149; swept the Stockton-Northridge road trip for the first time (started in 2001-02)