Men's Hoops Starts Up

No starters, no problem. Without three starters, the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team routed the California Maritime Academy Keelhaulers 108-56 on Friday in the Titans' season-opener

The Titans (1-0) were without starters Bobby Brown, Frank Robinson and Scott Cutley, who served the first of their three-game suspension for their misuse of book vouchers.

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"Everybody's trying to get together and build our team up so we can all get on the right page," CSUF freshman Jarrel Lake said. "L.B. (Bobby Brown) and them are sitting out for a few games, but we're picking up the slack for them and as soon as we get our whole team back, we'll be a stronger team."

The 52-point winning margin equaled the school record set nearly 21 years ago when CSUF defeated Seattle University 91-39.

Sophomore Chris Minardo led the Titans with 20 points. The 6-foot-10-inch forward hit four three-pointers in the first eight minutes of the game, finishing 4-for-8 from behind the arc.

Justin Burns, the only returning player from last season on the court Friday, had 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds with a sufficient 9-for-13 shooting from the field. Junior Andrew Green also had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Titans had six players score in the double digits.

"I was really happy with all of them because being shorthanded, you just don't know," Titan Head Coach Bob Burton said. "At first I thought they looked nervous."

CSUF came out of the gates early, outscoring the Keelhaulers 14-2 in the first five minutes of the game and never looking back.

"The things I was really happy about, I thought our defense got better," Burton said. "It still isn't good as for what we want, but I think it's on the right track. I really liked every kid on the floor's effort."

The coaching staff's emphasis on defense showed as the Titans scored 39 points off turnovers and held their opponents to 41 percent shooting.

"We want to dictate what the offense does," Lake said. "We don't want them to set up their plays. We want to make them feel out of synch. Our defense basically leads to our fast breaks and that's what people want to see."

The Titans still have two games to play without their three starters and reserve center Curtis Battles.

"When those other guys come back, they'll probably be out of synch for a while," Burton said. "It's a tough deal for us. That's why I was so excited about these guys tonight because I thought they played together. They played hard."