Defending the perimeter was a glaring weakness last year for the Titans so facing a team such as NAU is only fitting. And to make sure they get it right, they will play the Lumberjacks twice this season.
Then you have Irvine Valley transfer Chris Ferguson who was injured most of last year but he led IVC shooting 42% from behind the arc. Two-year letterman Kyle Feuerbach, while not as successful, still likes to put it up. He was 41 for 126 (33%) last year.
But the biggest problem the Titans will face will be adjusting to Flagstaff's high altitude. Located at 7,000 feet, is one of the highest cities in America. Since the Titans train in Fullerton, where the elevation is about 6,900 feet lower, this will likely be quite a shock for most of the players, especially with the new up tempo style of play.
The good news is, Northern Arizona is quite small and does not have much of an inside game. Starter Adrian Hayes, at 6-8, 210 lbs, averaged 2.3 points a game last year. The Lumberjacks do boast two 7 footers but they appear to be stiffs. Stiffs or not, they will possess 5 fouls a piece and they will not be afraid to uses them.
The strategy for NAU will likely be to double and triple team Pape Sow and let us hoist it from the outside. Getting Pape out of the game either because of foul trouble or because of lack of oxygen, will be their primary focus.
Game 1: Northern Arizona
Friday, November 21, 2003 @ NAU
|Cal State Fullerton (0-0, 0-0)||n/a||267|
|Northern Arizona (0-0, 0-0)||n/a||182|
|The Line: NAU by 7|
|Cal State Fullerton||Northern Arizona|
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CSF Release: The Titans open the season immediately playing half of their non-conference road schedule -- with a pair of games at Northern Arizona and Arizona State. Fullerton and NAU will later (Dec. 6) play a rematch in Titan Gym. Friday is the debut for Coach Bob Burton, who was hired on June 6 as the school’s ninth head men’s basketball coach. Ironically, his press conference was held just prior to the CSF-ASU baseball Super Regional opener.
About the Lumberjacks: Northern Arizona begins its fifth season under Mike Adras, who replaced Ben Howland, who moved to UCLA this season and hired away former Titan Head Coach Donny Daniels as his lead assistant. NAU beat UCLA last year on its way to a 15-13 season and a 6-8 mark in the Big Sky Conference, good for fifth place. Four starters are among eight returning lettermen led by 6-foot-5 guard Kelly Golob, who averaged 14 points and 5.7 rebounds last year.