December 21, 2007

Tough Defense Awaits Titans Sat. Afternoon

Dec. 21, 2007

Fullerton, Calif. -

UPCOMING:
Sat., Dec. 22 -- Wright State, Titan Gym (4,000), 3:05 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 28 -- at Shamrock Classic, Moraga, CA, vs. Furman, 5 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 29 -- at Shamrock Classic, Moraga, CA, vs. Saint Mary's or Howard, 5 or 7:30 p.m.

IN A NUTSHELL: The Titans (6-2) go for their fifth win in five tries at home against a Wright State team which has been playing stifling defense of late, allowing an average of 48 points in its last three victories. This game is the return of Fullerton's trip to Dayton, Ohio, last February in the ESPNU Bracket Buster. Fullerton hopes to be healthy after a siege of stomach flu weakened them in Thursday's overtime win over Montana.

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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. Todd Reeves will be mikeside for the Wright State contest.

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
F 2 Scott Cutley* 6-5 Sr. 13.8 8.8r Just missed triple double vs. SUU w/15 points, 10 boards, 8 assists
F 34 Marcus Morgan* 6-5 Jr. 5.5 5.0r Career highs of 13 points, 9 rebounds at Arizona
G 1 Josh Akognon 6-1 Jr. 18.5 2.4r Failed to get a field goal vs. Montana on Thursday night
F 5 Frank Robinson** 6-4 Sr. 16.4 6.3r Averaged 25 points in two games vs. Montana
G 15 Junior Russell 5-6 Jr. 5.1 2.5a Scored 16 points off the bench at Central Michigan
OFF THE BENCH:
C 21 Kenneth Alexander* 6-6 Sr. 6.4 2.6r Career-high 17 pts. off the bench at So. Utah; missed second Montana game
G 22 Ray Reed* 5-11 Sr. 5.1 1.4a Season-high 11 points vs. Southern Utah
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw* 5-10 Jr. 10.5 3.0a Hit 5 of 9 treys vs. Southern Utah (Dec. 17)
C 42 Andrew Green* 6-6 Sr. 5.8 3.5r Made first Titan career start vs. Cal State L.A.
G 11 Marcio Lassiter 6-2 Jr. 3.5 1.0a Scored 9 points in 11 minutes of action at Montana
C 13 Eddie Lima 6-9 Jr. 3.0 1.6r Made 3 of 4 shots vs. CSU Bakersfield; slowed by knee injury
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans are 0-1 vs. Wright State, a 77-62 loss in Dayton last season.

ABOUT THE RAIDERS: Wright State is 5-3 (1-1 Horizon League) after Tuesday night's 54-45 win over Saint Bonaventure. Wright State is riding the momentum of a 3-1 streak that also includes an overtime loss to Bradley in between beating No. 13-ranked Butler, 43-42, in its conference opener and a come-from-behind 58-57 victory at the buzzer over Miami of Ohio.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 74-53 in his fifth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .5827, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .5829). His four previous 9-game records at Fullerton: 4-5 in 2003-04; 5-4 in 2004-05; 6-3 in 2005-06; and 7-2 last season.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 41-15 (.732) in Titan Gym.

THESE 30 ROAD WINS MUCH QUICKER: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past three seasons plus this season to date, they are 30-27 (.526) away from Titan Gym. For the previous 10 seasons (1994-95 thru 2003-04) the combined road record was 30-115. With a 3-11 mark in his first season (2003-04), Burton's total CSF road record is 33-38.

HEALING MAN CUTLEY: The Titans' returning first-team All-Big West Conference senior forward Scott Cutley returned to the practice floor during Thanksgiving weekend, came off the bench at Arizona and started at Montana, six weeks after suffering a fractured right ankle. Last season he missed only one game despite a broken thumb. He led the team with 9 rebounds against Montana and has posted three consecutive double-doubles to bring his two-season CSF total to 14. He narrowly missed CSF's second triple-double (Ralphy Holmes: 14 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists on March 5, 2005 vs. CSUN) with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists in Monday night's win over Southern Utah. On Thursday night, after a slow start (4 points on 2 of 8 shooting in the first half) he finished strong and scored 7 of his 19 points in overtime on 3-for-3 shooting.

AKOGNON LIKES THE TEMPO: Through the first five games of the season, Josh Akognon was averaging 24.2 points per game which got the attention of opponent coaching staffs. They have focused their defenses on him in the last 3 games, in which he has scored a total of 27 points on 7-of-25 shooting (5-of-21 treys). He was 0-for-5 from the floor in the Montana rematch. The Washington State transfer led the Cougars in scoring in 2005-06 and made just under two treys per game while averaging 10.3 points. For the Titans he is averaging 3.9 treys per game.

ROBINSON REBOUNDS: Frank Robinson sat out Monday's Southern Utah game with an ankle injury but played and played well, particularly in the first half against Montana on Thursday night. He scored 16 of his game-high 20 points before intermission on 6-for-9 shooting. He bounced back from one of his worst games as a Titan at Arizona to score a career-high 30 points at Montana to go with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. He was 1-for-7 from the floor in Tucson and 11-for-16 in Missoula. He had a double-double at Central Michigan with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

CRENSHAW SPARK PLUG: Junior guard Marcus Crenshaw, the Big West Conference's Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07, started at Montana (and Central Michigan) after 31 consecutive appearances off the bench. He started his first three games as a Titan in November of 2006 when the roster was short three suspended players. He has gone back to his reserve role this week and provided an offensive spark off the bench with 17 points against Southern Utah and 16 against Montana on 9-for-18 shooting from behind -- and often well behind -- the 3-point line. He is only 8 makes away from moving into the Titans' all-time Top Ten list for successful treys.

MORGAN SHINES IN TV SPOTLIGHT: Marcus Morgan had his best statistical game against easily the toughest opponent he has faced in his 36-game Titan career. He scored 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while playing solid defense at Arizona. Two nights later in Montana, with a large contingent of family members watching, he got into early foul trouble and finished with only 2 points and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes of action. He also got into foul trouble at Central Michigan and finished with 3 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes. This week he has had two solid games including a career-high 10 rebounds vs. Montana. And, he blocked the potential game-winning layup by Andrew Strait with one second left in regulation.

SUPER SUB: San Francisco City College transfer Marcio Lassiter is gradually becoming a key player for the Titans. He played only 2 minutes at Central Michigan but in the other three most recent games has averaged 7.8 points, making 6-of-13 shots and 7-of-7 free throws, all in crunch time. He had a pair plus an offensive rebound bucket in OT vs. Montana.

SURVEY SAYS: Cal State Fullerton was a consensus third-place prediction at the annual Big West Conference Basketball Media Day on Oct. 24 behind UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly SLO. The Titans were third in the media poll and tied for third with Pacific in the coaches poll.