Men's Hoops Steams Past Hope

Cal State Fullerton's men's basketball team won the Battle of Nutwood Avenue as it defeated the Hope International University Royals 98-65 in a non-conference game Tuesday.

The Titans (2-0) were led by junior Ray Reed who was one assist shy from only the second triple-double in the Titans' Division I history.

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The 5-foot-11 guard scored 23 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and had a game-high nine assists in 38 minutes of action. He also had six steals.

"He did a great job defensively and I thought he was one of the real guiding lights tonight," Titan Head Coach Bob Burton said.

The Royals had four players score in the low double-digits. Center Marko Torovic had 10 points and nine rebounds. Guards Bryan Fincham and Aron Cline led the team with 11 points.

Fullerton has outscored its opponents by a total of 85 points over the last two games, averaging a winning margin of 42.5 points per game this season. The team routed California Maritime Academy 108-56 in its season-opener last week.

The 33-point victory over the Royals (1-3) may have looked good on paper, but Burton said he wasn't satisfied with the way his players looked on the court.

"I was really, really discouraged with the way we played today," Burton said. "We just kind of kept self-destructing. We'd be pretty good on the offensive end and then we were playing very poor defense."

The fourth-year coach has been putting a major emphasis on defense this season to balance the team's prolific offensive game.

"It just shows how much work we have to do to continue on that," Burton said. "This wasn't really about the score. This is about how you look, and I don't think they looked good defensively."

The two teams started off scoreless in the first two minutes of the game. Both teams remained in single digits during the first six minutes of the game until a jumper by Titan forward Marcus Morgan put his team ahead 10-9.

Four games into the season and with just one win, the Royals are coming off a winless 2005-06 season.

"I think they've really improved," Burton said. "I think they're going to have a nice year. That's a completely different group of guys."

Fullerton had five players score in the double-digits.

Sophomore Chris Minardo was another Titan who had a double-double on the night. He scored 18 points with a game-high of 11 rebounds.

The Titans still have one more game left without four players who were suspended because of a minor NCAA violation involving the misuse of book vouchers.

Starters Bobby Brown, Frank Robinson and Scott Cutley and reserve center Curtis Battles will return to the court when the Titans head out to Louisiana to face Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 24.

"I think right now the opportunity that the younger players have is great because they're getting experience that a lot of them would not have been getting had the players not been suspended," Titan forward Justin Burns said.

The Titans have a week off before they head out on the road to Texas where they will face Texas-San Antonio on Nov. 22.

"A lot of the guys that are starting right now are going to be giving us a boost off the bench, a lot of energy coming in and they're going to be experienced and ready and know exactly what's going on," Burns said. © Copyright 2006 Daily Titan