As the Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team prepares for their weekend tournament at University of San Francisco, Head Coach Bob Burton has spent the entire week preaching to his players the importance of defense.
The normally high-scoring Titans will be playing Chicago State University, a team that is dangerously similar to Fullerton, in the first round.
“It’s going to be a hard game for us because they’re really strong on the perimeter and we are going to have to stop their penetration,” Burton said. “I think it’s a pretty good match-up for us. I think it’s going to be a scoring-type game.”
“We match up real [well] with them,” Titan junior guard Bobby Brown said. “They got small guards and we got small guards. Their guards are pretty fast, but we’ve been playing guards like that all our lives so it’s not like a big challenge.”
The Titans started off the season torching opposing teams, averaging 85 points a game while holding the opposition to 62.7 points per game. But they ran into a wall when they visited Kansas State.
“We knew anytime you play a Big 12 team on their court, it’s going to be very, very difficult to win. They’re not paying you $50,000 to come in and [beat them],” Burton said. “I think the concern, at least that I had, was not so much the loss but the way we lost. I just don’t think we represented ourselves the way we should.”
After the 84-59 blowout, the Titans regrouped at home, where they have had a whole week before their University of San Francisco Tournament appearance on Friday.
“We need to play together. It’s all about playing together, playing defense and rebounding. That’s all it takes to win,” the Titan’s Jamaal Brown said.
Freshman guard Jerard Moret, who Burton said is the team’s best on-ball defender, is going to have the task of shutting down the Cougar’s Parran, who lit up University of Illinois, Chicago for 37 points in 37 minutes.
If the Titans beat Chicago State, they will face either New Mexico State University or USF, a team that runs an up-tempo offense similar to Fullerton’s.
After the tournament, Burton said he will have a better grasp of the team. As for now, there is a lot of work to be done.
“I think we’ve seen some improvement, but we still have a long, long way to go,” Burton said. “We’re nowhere near the team right now that I hope that we are by the time we get to [the end].”