December 22, 2006

Titans Host San Jose State Saturday at 2:05 p.m.

Dec. 21, 2006

Fullerton, CA -

UPCOMING:
Sat., Dec. 23 - San Jose State, Titan Gym, 2:05 p.m.
Thur., Dec. 28 -- at Cal Poly SLO, Mott Gym, 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 30 -- at UC Santa Barbara, Thunderdome, 7 p.m.

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IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (8-2) tries to improve to 9-2 for the first time since the 1983-84 season when it hosts San Jose State (1-9) Saturday afternoon in the final game before the start of Big West Conference play. The last Titan team to go 8-2 was in 1990-91. Dating to last season, Fullerton has won nine in a row in Titan Gym and is coming off its most lopsided win over a Div. I team in 17 seasons.

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. Brian Tajibe will be the announcer for the San Jose State 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
C 5 Justin Burns** 6-7 Sr. 11.8 7.1r Three double-doubles; 0 points vs. Bethune-Cookman but 16 vs. ULaLa.
F 2 Scott Cutley 6-5 Jr. 15.0 8.8r Missed only Bethune-Cookman game with broken left thumb
G 3 Bobby Brown*** 6-2 Sr. 21.0 4.1a Passed Ike Harmon on Wednesday for No. 3 on Titans' career points list
G 22 Ray Reed 5-11 Jr. 11.3 4.2a Leading Big West Conference in steals (2.8 ) and assists (4.2)
G 0 Frank Robinson* 6-4 Jr. 12.1 5.4r Career-high 7 assists vs. BCC; made 3 of 5 treys vs. ULaLa.

OFF THE BENCH:
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw 5-10 So. 11.2 2.8a Second on team with 24 3-point field goals (in 67 tries, .358)
F 21 Kenneth Alexander 6-6 Jr. 5.1 4.2r Got first start vs. Bethune-Cookman; 6 rebounds in solid 25 minutes at UCLA
F 43 Chris Minardo 6-10 So. 5.9 3.0r Had 5 points, 4 rebounds in 11 quality minutes at Pepperdine
C 42 Andrew Green 6-6 Jr. 5.2 4.0r Leads team in boards per minutes played; 5 boards in each of last 2 games
F 34 Marcus Morgan 6-5 Jr. 3.1 3.4r Started first three games; sidelined by knee problem for three games
*letters earned

SERIES HISTORY: The Titans have a 25-24 lead in the series with most of those games coming when the Spartans also were in the PCAA or Big West Conference. Fullerton is 2-1 since the Spartans opted for the Western Athletic Conference, splitting two games in San Jose.

ABOUT THE SPARTANS: They have lost three in a row since logging their only victory, an 80-63 home win over Cal Poly on Dec. 3. Second-year Coach George Nessman is 7-34. Three players are averaging in double figures -- Tim Pierce at 12.4, Menelik Barbary at 11.2 (plus 6.1 rebounds) and Jamon Hill at 10.1. As a team, San Jose State is shooting only .377 from the floor.

ABOUT THE TITANS: The Titans are trying to post their third consecutive winning season, something that hasn't been done in Fullerton since Coach George McQuarn posted four winning records between 1981-82 and 1984-85. They got off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1989-90. 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 Kenneth Alexander and Marcus Morgan from West Valley, Andrew Green from College of the Sequoias and Chris Minardo from Citrus College. Six different players (Minardo, Reed, Crenshaw, Cutley, Brown and Burns) led or shared the lead in scoring in the first six games, but Brown has been the co-leader or leader in five of the last six.

THE COACH: Bob Burton is 56-43 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career and coaching game No. 100 on Saturday afternoon. At .566, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). The former San Jose area resident is 1-0 vs. San Jose State.

CHALK TALK: Assistant Coach Andy Newman will hold a free pre-game reception and "chalk talk" for the Titan Athletics Club on Jan. 6 at 4 p.m. prior to the 6:05 p.m. game with Pacific. The location is University Village, across from campus on north side of Yorba Linda Blvd.

FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 30-13 (.698) in Titan Gym and have a 9-game winning streak alive.

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 six-time national champion dance team.

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 23-19 away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115. Burton's total CSF road record is 26-30.

LIVING GOOD: 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.

OUT OF THE BLOCKS: With the exception of the Nov. 22 game at Texas-San Antonio (where they fell behind 19-7 at 11:36), the Titans have jumped out to early double-digit leads in every other game, to wit: 14-2 at 15:24 vs. Cal Maritime; 24-12 at 10:10 vs. Hope; 17-7 at 15:19 at Lafayette; 33-23 at 9:26 at Eastern Washington; 14-3 at 14:43 vs. UTSA; 14-4 at 15:18 at UCLA; 13-2 at 15:42 at Pepperdine; 14-2 at 15:53 vs. Bethune Cookman and 24-14 at 7:41 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.

BOBBY FOCAL POINT: 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 has been nominated 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 has made numerous pre-season All-Big West Conference teams and is 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 315 more points this season to become the Titans' all-time leading scorer, surpassing All-American, Olympic gold medalist and 6-year NBA veteran Leon Wood. 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 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 Richard 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. Brown had 12 points in first 4:07 and 17 (of team's first 19) in first 7:11.

SUPER SUB: Junior Frank Robinson was the key Titan off the bench last year when he was selected the "sixth man" of the year in the Big West Conference. He became a starter for the final three weeks of the season and played to an all-conference level, averaging 16.6 points over the last seven games capped by a 25-point, 12-rebound effort in defeat to Long Beach State in the semifinals of the post-season tournament. Overall, he averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds and was No. 3 in the conference in 3-point field goal accuracy at .445 (49 of 110). He also led the conference in steals at 1.66 per game. This year he scored 16 points in each of his first two games but hit a 4-game shooting slump from long range, making only 4 of 19. But he made 3 of 5 in a 13-point effort vs. Louisiana. He had a career-high 7 assists vs. Bethune Cookman.

BURNS BOUNCES BACK: Senior Justin Burns bounced back from a scoreless game vs. Bethune-Cookman to lead the Titans with 16 points vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. Since winning Big West Conference Player of the Week honor a few weeks ago when he posted a pair of double-doubles in victories at Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana-Lafayette, he is averaging 10.9 points and 4.7 rebounds. He had a career second-best of 21 points vs. Texas-San Antonio. With three double-doubles this season, he has moved into the Titans' career Top 12 list with 8. He began the week ranked No. 3 in rebounding in the Big West.

Scott Cutley: Kent State transfer Scott Cutley was cleared to play this week after suffering a fractured left (non-shooting) thumb in practice late last week that caused him to miss the Bethune-Cookman game. He broke in as a Titan with a bang, scoring 31 points with 11 rebounds in his Titan debut at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 24. It was only the 62nd 30-point game by a Titan at the Div. I level. He scored the game-tying buckets in the final minute of both regulation and overtime. He came back with 19 points at Eastern Washington and a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards vs. Texas-San Antonio. At UCLA he led the team with 7 rebounds and had 11 points, all in the first half. He then had a career-high 15 rebounds to go with 10 points for another double-double at Pepperdine.

RAY REED: Georgetown transfer Ray Reed leads the Titans and the Big West Conference in assists (4.2 ) and steals (2.8 ) through the first 10 games. His scoring has fallen off with a total of only 27 points in the last 5 games (5.4 ppg) after five consecutive games in double figures. He made only 1 of 11 field goals at Pepperdine and was 4-for-23 in the 3 games prior to a 3-for-4 effort vs. Bethune-Cookman and 3-for-5 vs. Louisiana. He just missed a triple-double against Hope International when he had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

Marcus Crenshaw: He started the first three games and averaged 18 points. Playing considerably less minutes, he has averaged 8.3 points in the last seven games. He is second on the team with 24 3-point field goals and his total of 28 assists is No. 3.

FALLBACK, BABY: The Titans attempted 29 3-point field goals at Pepperdine, equalling the high for the Coach Bob Burton Era at Fullerton. The school record is 31 attempts and four times there have been 30 attempts. This season the Titans have averaged 21.6 attempts per game. The 13 they made (11 by Bobby Brown) vs.Bethune-Cookman has been surpassed only twice in CSF history -- 14 on two occasions. They came back from the BCC game to make 10 (of 22 tries) vs. Louisiana.

WESTCHESTER CONNECTION: Westchester High School, one of California's most successful prep basketball programs in recent times, leaves a lot of flavor on the Titans' roster. Current players Bobby Brown, Scott Cutley and Jarrel Lake all played there while Titan Assistant Coach Marlon Morton was on the WHS staff. Last year's team had two more former Comets in Jerard Moret (who transferred to West L.A. College) and John Clemmons (eligibility expired).

ONLY ONE NEW STOP: Lafayette, Louisiana, with its Cajundome was the only stop on the Titans' basketball itinerary this year where the Titans have not previously competed. Conversely, three new opponents visited Titan Gym -- California Maritime, Bethune-Cookman and Louisiana-Lafayette.

SURVEY SAYS: Cal State Fullerton was a consensus third-place prediction at the annual Big West Conference Basketball Media Day on Oct. 25. Both the media and coaches polls had Fullerton behind Pacific and Long Beach State.