Titan Men Host Hope in Home Opener Thursday

Nov. 19, 2008

Fullerton, Calif. -

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UPCOMING:
Thur., Nov. 20 -- Hope International, Titan Gym (4,000), 7:05 p.m. PST
Sun., Nov. 23 -- at Portland State, Stott Center (1,500), 2:05 p.m. PST
Thur., Nov. 27 -- at 76 Classic, vs. Wake Forest, Anaheim Convention Center Arena (6,500), 1:30 p.m. - ESPN2

IN A NUTSHELL: The new-look Titans (1-1) open the home portion of the 2008-09 schedule by hosting nearby Hope International on Thursday night before a string of five extremely challenging away contests. Fullerton will play at defending Big Sky Conference champion Portland State on Sunday afternoon before spending Thanksgiving Weekend at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, which has been rated the nation's fourth strongest pre-conference tourney by Sports Illustrated.com. Surviving that, it's off to Baton Rouge for a Dec. 2 game at LSU. Fullerton is off to a 1-1 start after losing a neutral court game to Texas State and beating host Hawaii in the Verizon Tip-Off Classic in Honolu.

AUDIO: All Titan games (except the 76 Classic in Anaheim) 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 Tom Sheridan will describe the Hope game and SID Mel Franks will call the games from Portland State.

VIDEO: All Titan home games and road Big West Conference games are available via videostreaming, normally on a subscription basis but free in the month of November. 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. 26.0 2.5a Big West Player of the Week scored 41 in win over Hawai'i
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Sr. 6.5 4.5r 3-for-5 FGs vs. Hawai'i after 1-for-11 effort vs. Texas State
G 22 Jacques Streeter 6-0 Fr. 10.5 5.0a Zero turnovers vs. Hawai'i press plus 9 assists to go with 15 points
F 24 Gerard Anderson 6-6 Jr. 15.5 6.5r Scored 20 points in second half vs. Texas State
F 42 Papa Guisse 6-8 Jr. 5.0 3.5r Anchored middle of unexpected CSF zone in second half vs. Hawai'i

OFF THE BENCH:
F 43 Ray Miller 6-8 Jr. 1.0 2.5r Fouled out of both games in Honolulu
G 14 Ameer Shamsud-din 6-2 Fr. 4.0 1.5a True freshman from Benson Tech in Portland returns home this weekend
C 55 Adam Thomas 7-2 Jr. 0.0 1.5r Redshirted last year; late start to his basketball career
G 0 Aaron Thompson 6-4 Jr. 9.5 4.5r Had 15 points, 7 rebounds vs. Texas State
F 5 Regan Andersen 6-7 Jr. 0.0 0.0r Well-traveled Milwaukee native; walk-on transfer from Oxnard College
G 21 Chris Rhymes 6-4 Jr. -- -- Transfer from Cowley County JC coming back from knee surgery
G 44 Kwasi Mensah 6-3 Fr. -- -- Walk-on from Rancho Cucamonga HS

SERIES HISTORIES: The Titans are 3-0 vs. Hope International and 4-1 vs. Portland State. The Titans are 3-0 in Titan Gym against Hope, last beating the Royals, 98-65, on Nov. 14, 2006. They are 1-1 in Portland, last playing there in a 60-48 loss on Dec. 15, 1980. Fullerton beat the Vikings last year in Titan Gym, 85-69, on Feb. 23 in an ESPNU Bracket Buster matchup.

ABOUT THE ROYALS: Hope International is located across Nutwood Avenue from the Cal State Fullerton campus and is housed in former CSF dormitories and a converted shopping center that once featured the Titan Bookstore. The Royals are an NAIA institution and a member of the Golden State Athletic Conference coming off a 1-26 season.

ABOUT THE VIKINGS: Portland State had a season last year (23-10) paralleling that of the Titans and both teams ended up in the NCAA Regional Tournament in Omaha. But the defending Big Sky Conference champions return three starters among six lettermen including Big Sky Player of the Year Jeremiah Dominguez, a 5-foot-6 guard. Coach Ken Bone is 54-39 in three seasons. Portland State was 13-1 at home last season and hosts rival Portland University tonight in its season opener.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 93-61 in his sixth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .604, 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).

ROAD WARRIORS: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past four seasons plus this year, they are 42-32 (.568) away from Titan Gym (includes 9-7 on neutral floors). For the previous 10 seasons (1994-95 thru 2003-04) the combined road record was 30-115 (.207). With a 3-11 mark in his first season (2003-04), Burton's total CSF road record is 45-43 (.511).

HOME OPENERS: In the Bob Burton Era, the Titans are 4-1 in home openers, losing only to Sacramento State, 78-71 in overtime, in 2003. The wins have come over Hope International twice, Cal Maritime and Cal State Bakersfield.

DISTANCE MATTERS: From the Titans' first two games, it appears the 1-foot expansion of the 3-point field goal line has made a difference in shooting accuracy. Fullerton was a combined 13-for-46 (.283) and the opponents were 7-for-32 (.219). Last season the Titans shot .385 and opponents shot .375 from behind the arc when it was 19 feet, 9 inches from the center of the hoop.

HAWAI'I WRAP UP: The Titans lost their opener, 76-66, to Texas State, but bounced back to beat host Hawai'i, 90-76. Fouls were the big problem in the opener as the Titans were whistled 18 times in the first half and 34 times in the game. Four players fouled out and three of them were gone with more than 9 minutes to play. Somehow, Fullerton rallied from a 20-point deficit early in the second half to get within 5 points. Gerard Anderson scored 20 of his game-high 21 points after intermission to spark the rally. Vs. Hawaii, fouls again were a problem but the Titans went to a zone early in the second half and it slowed down the Warriors, who had taken a 4-point lead shortly after intermission. With Josh Akognon torching the nets on his way to 41 points, the Titans used a 10-1 run to take a 5-point lead and gradually pulled away, thanks in great part to 6-for-6 shooting in the three one-and-one opportunities. Jacques Streeter committed zero turnovers against an often-pressing Hawaii defense and added 15 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds. Fullerton is now 2-1 all-time vs. Hawaii, 5-7 on Oahu and 1-3 in the Sheriff Center.

EXHIBITION WIN: Josh Akognon scored 23 points and five teammates also were in double figures as Cal State Fullerton rolled to a 101-67 men's basketball exhibition victory on Nov. 6 over Carroll College of Helena, Montana. Jacques Streeter had 16 points and Marcio Lassiter added 15 for the Titans, who shot 56 percent from the floor, taking advantage of many of the Fighting Saints' 24 turnovers for easy baskets. Gerard Anderson led the Titans with 10 rebounds and had 11 points, as did junior Aaron Thompson. Ameer Shamsud-din added 12 points.

RIDICULOUS TO SUBLIME: Josh Akognon saw both ends of the spectrum on his way to a berth on the all-tournament team in Honolulu. On Friday night he made only 5 of 15 shots (1-for-6 treys) and fouled out with more than 15 minutes to play. Hawai'i Assistant Coach Larry Farmer scouted the game and was quoted fearfully: "Players like him don't have two bad games in a row." Akognon came out firing on Sunday and broke the 15-year-old facility's record with 41 points, making 12 of 29 shots including 7 of 18 3-pointers. He made 10 of 11 free throws and added 3 assists while playing 40 minutes. Akognon's outburst is the second highest scoring game in CSF's Div. I history (Bobby Brown had 47 vs. Bethune Cookman on Dec. 16, 2006) and his 18 3-point tries tied Mark Hill's school mark set on Jan. 3, 1990, at UNLV. The seven treys made matched Akognon's best (3 times last year). His previous career highs were 31 points and 13 3-point field goal attempts. For his efforts, he also earned Big West Conference Player of the Week honors.

FRESHMEN SHOW POLISH: The Titans' tandem of freshmen point guards showed great promise. Starter Jacques Streeter committed only 1 turnover in 63 minutes while scoring 21 points (8-for-15 from the floor), handing out 10 assists (9 vs. Hawaii) and grabbing 11 rebounds. Ameer Shamsud-din came off the bench for 29 minutes and scored 8 points (3-of-10 shooting) with 4 turnovers and 3 assists.

ANDERSON EXPLODES: Gerard Anderson scored the Titans' first point of the season (3:27 into the Texas State game) but didn't score again until the second half, when he erupted for 14 points in a span of less than 5 minutes on his way to a 20-point half. He made a string of 9 consecutive free throws spanning the two games and finished 13-for-19 at the line.

THOMPSON SHINES: Guard Aaron Thompson helped Anderson rally the Titans against Texas State, finishing with 15 points and a game-high 7 rebounds to earn himself a start against Hawai'i. He was quieter against the taller Warriors, totaling 4 points and 2 rebounds in 20 minutes of play.

LASSITER RESPONDS: Like fellow senior Josh Akognon, Marcio Lassiter bounced back from a disappointing opener to excel against Hawai'i. After going 1-for-11 from the floor (0-for-6 treys) against Texas State, he came off the bench to go 3-for-5 (3-for-4 treys) vs. Hawai'i.