UCSB gets "Sensationalized"

Thoughts and opinions as the Titans defeat UC Santa Barbara. Ralphy Holmes scored 20 points and Jamaal Brown posted a double-double with 14 rebounds and 13 points Saturday evening to lead Cal State Fullerton to a 68-59 Big West Conference victory over UC Santa Barbara.

The Players

Ralphy Holmes. Both he and Jamaal Brown played extremely well but Ralphy was the man in this game. He had at least three season-highlight type moves and gave a tremendous effort on defense all night. My favorite play was when he stripped the ball from a Nacho near the baseline and took it the length of the court for a layup while being fouled. "Sensational" was legendary last night. And his post-game interview on Fox Sports was a perfect ending to the night. (I will now be rooting for the Eagles in the Super Bowl)

JB: One of his best games yet. Didn't force shots, rebounded with authority and played the entire game with positive emotion. If he can consistently play like this the rest of the way, we will finish in the top four. Great game, now let's see that same effort in the next four road games.

JB2: Justin Burns played his best game of the season. The fact that he didn't score doesn't take anything away. He had a couple blocks, played good defense and rebounded well. This is could be Justin's breakout game.

Jermaine Harper: Seemed to be matched up against UCSB's Joe See all night and did a fantastic job defending him. Also did well offensively. At least two of his three's were from NBA range. Great game Jermaine.

John Clemmons stepped up in a big way. With Bobby Brown struggling offensively and defensively, Clemmons came through. He distributed the ball well, played good defense and hit some big free throws at the end of the game.

The Coaching

We have never had a coach who knows as much about basketball as Titans head coach Bob Burton. Never. I can not say enough good things about the way he operates during a game. He is not afraid to make tough decisions and he always comes to the game prepared. UCSB is tough to play against because they try to slow things down and they are constantly mixing up their defenses. We did not have a good shooting night but still easily won this game and that's because Burton knows what he's doing. This is the first Titan coach I have ever seen who knows how to coach during a game. Sounds like an exaggeration but is 100% reality.

There were two things during the game I thought he did wrong but turned out to be the correct thing. One was not putting LB back in with about 5 minutes left in the game. I thought we needed him, one to give him another shot to redeem himself and two because he can make free throws and I didn't think Clemmons could. What happens? Clemmons hits four big free throws down the stretch.

LB's ego may be bruised a bit but he needs to learn that defense is important. We have seen him play outstanding defense so he is capable. He just needs to step up and do it consistently. We won this game but LB is still key to winning on the road. Like Jermaine and Jamaal did before him, he needs to learn from his mistakes. One bad game does not erase all the good things he has done in his career thus far.

The other thing I thought Burton did wrong was run the clock out too soon -- about 5 minutes left with a 12 point lead. Apparently he realized correctly that UCSB would not try to foul and they simply do not have enough talent to score easily. Shut down See and game is over. See hit some shots but the Nachos never got the game under nine points again. To my dismay, Burton made the correct call here.

I thought this was a great game because we beat a team we should beat despite not playing as well as we are capable.