Titans Storm Past Utah State

(Photos by Bryan Crowe) Thoughts, opinions and observations from Saturday's win over Utah State. The victory improved Fullerton to 15-8, 9-5 and clinched its first winning season since the 1992-93 team went 15-12.

After Thursday's win over Idaho a reporter asked Yaphett King what it felt like to be playing one of the "Big Boys" on Saturday, referring to Utah State. Without hesitation King responded, "We are one the 'Big Boys'".

Trailing by eight at halftime and scoring only 24 points on 32% shooting the "Big Boys" scored 40 points in the second half to pull away with a 64-60 victory over Utah State. The victory assured the Titans of their first winning season since the 1992-93 team went 15-12.

With JB, we rarely lose the opening tip.

Is this anyway to treat the fans?

The victory, however, did not go without one or more CSF officials going overboard by ordering the handcuffing of two fans who stormed the court as well as a third who reacted in disbelief to what he was seeing.

The OC Register points the finger at events manager Scott Stow and he immediately used the "safety" card. If he really wanted to keep people safe, as he stated in the story, then Stow wouldn't risk injury to people by physically shoving them off the court. The truth will eventually come out but this was a personal vendetta directed at one fan in particular and, by all accounts, was pre-mediated.

The administration needs to take appropriate action on this individual and we will keep you updated on what, if any, action is taken.

Historic Win

I really want this to be stressed. Just because some authority-crazed individual should go overboard, absolutely nothing should be forgotten about the way this team came back in the second half to beat Utah State, a team we had beaten twice in 23 attempts. Nothing. This team deserves the highest of praises from the fans and that is what I remember most from Saturday night. I also remember the joy -- albeit brief -- of running on the floor and celebrating with Jamaal Brown.

In actuality, I think the players were robbed just as much as the fans for not getting a worthy celebration after the game. The fans wanted it, the players wanted it, and, according to reliable sources, even athletic director Brain Quinn wanted it.

This was a win to savor for at least the next couple days and not just because we were playing Utah State. As TitanCentral.com message board poster Auxere stated in his post titled, "Why storm the court?"

Because we've endured so much failure the past dozen years. Because it seems like forever since we beat Utah State. ... Because we have a team that plays with tremendous heart, that overcomes huge height disadvantages (no regular taller than 6-7), that is capable of explosive offense. We love this team, and for most of us, this is the most fun we've had with a CSUF team that doesn't use bats.

Another poster, eleFANtitus, adds:

That moment came in the form of a win over a team who has pummeled us 7 times in a row, 11 out of the past 12, and 21 out of the last 23. It was a moment that solidified a winning season for us. Something we haven't seen in 12 years. I don't know about you, but how many of you have waited for something for 12 years? I know, I'm preaching to the choir. Anyway, at this moment, it just didn't seem right to stay contained in my seat. I erupted with sheer joy and crossed the threshold onto the court.

The first to greet me was JB. This is a Titan Memory I will never forget and will fondly tell my sons of in the years to come. His grin was as wide as a jack-o-lantern's, and his arms were as wide as a jet plane's. I ran up and bumped chests with him in celebratory fashion.

About that game

Yaphett scores behind a sea of Orange

Here is what I remember. The energy level before the game even started was amazing. You could just feel that something special was going to happen. There were more cameras, more NBA scouts (Jim Harrick to name one) and more professional basketball players (Pape Sow and Babacar Camara) in attendance than there had been all season.

The Titans started off slow but the Section K'ers kept chanting "We Believe" numerous times, as if to reassure ourselves the poor shooting on the floor was only temporary. As my son likes to call him, the "motions guy" (Kasey Greek) was in mid-season form and the fans seemed as content as could be for an 8-point deficit heading into half-time.

We were getting beat pretty badly by Spencer Nelson but we figured the coaching staff would come up with something to stop him in the second half. As has been all season, the fans were not disappointed. Adjustments --and history -- were made.

Jamaal Brown had one of his best defensive games of the season while the rest of the Titans got hot from the outside. Within five minutes of the second half the Aggie lead had disappeared. A sea-saw battle continued for the rest of the game. Walk-on Vershan Cottrell had four consecutive points during one stretch including a huge offensive rebound over much taller players which he then put back in for two. "And One! And One!" chants erupted from the crowd. Great moment.

The greatest moment came from Bobby Brown. With the Titans trailing by a point with a about a minute and a half left in the game, LB drove to the basket and was absolutely butchered by Spencer Nelson. LB was on his way down when out of nowhere the ball comes out of the pile like a torpedo and banks in. And I thought his shot against Idaho couldn't be topped. This one clearly did.

As for Ralphy Holmes, he only had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists in 37 minutes (he says tongue-in-cheek). All season long he has lived up to his hype and this game was no different. If he continues on this pace, Big West Player of the Year honors are not out of reach.

Perhaps some of the most inspired play came on the defensive end. Jamaal Brown and Jermaine Harper came up huge in this area. JB was given the task of guarding Spencer Nelson in the second half which the media reported as being the difference in the game. I feel Harper's effort of guarding USU's most potent outside threat Jaycee Carroll was equally important. He held Carroll to 9 points and was covering him like a wet blanket all afternoon. Some will point to his 0-7 shooting display but without Jermaine's defense we lose this game.

Justifiably so, many people will remember this historic win for the way the fans were treated after the game. It's really is unfortunate that one person can single-handily destroy what should have been a momentous occasion and turn it into another black-eye for the university. I plan to move on -- once this issue is resolved -- and I hope others do likewise but let's not forget what a great game this was and remember that these players are what this game is all about. They deserve our support no matter what happens from overzealous individuals.

Thanks Jamaal!