Thur., Jan. 18 -- at Long Beach State, Walter Pyramid, 7:05 p.m., KVMD-TV
Sat., Jan. 20 -- at UC Irvine, Bren Center, 7:05 p.m., FSN Prime Ticket
Thur., Jan. 25 -- UC Davis, Titan Gym, 7:05 p.m.
IN A NUTSHELL: Cal State Fullerton (13-3, 4-1) embarks on its most important road "trip" in many a year this week as it takes its first-place standing in the Big West Conference into the lairs of traditional rivals Long Beach State and UC Irvine. The Titans are off to their best start both overall and in conference play since the 1983-84 team opened with the same marks -- 13-3 and 4-1. That team went to 14-3 and 5-1 before embarking on a 6-game losing streak. Fullerton is ranked No. 16 in the current www.collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
INTERNET AUDIO: All Titan games can be heard live on the internet on computers with sound cards. Listeners may access the CSF Athletics home page at www.fullertontitans.com and follow the links. Justin Alderson will be the announcer for the Long Beach and UCI games.
INTERNET VIDEO: All Titan home games and road Big West Conference games are available via videostreaming on a subscription basis. Details are available on the Big West website at www.bigwest.org.
No. Name Ht. Yr. ppg r/apg Quick Notes
C 5 Justin Burns** 6-7 Sr. 12.0 7.2r Had a double-double by halftime vs. UC Riverside with 15 points & 10 boards
F 2 Scott Cutley 6-5 Jr. 15.0 9.0r Leads Big West in rebounding and is No. 7 in scoring, No. 9 in FG percentage
G 3 Bobby Brown*** 6-2 Sr. 20.7 5.5a Began week in BWC top 5 in scoring, FG%, FT%, 3pt FGs & %, assists & steals
G 22 Ray Reed 5-11 Jr. 10.6 3.8a Leading Big West Conference in steals (2.31), fifth in assists (3.81)
G 0 Frank Robinson* 6-4 Jr. 12.2 5.7r Bizarre 3-point FG pattern -- has made 0 or 3 every other game since Dec. 16
OFF THE BENCH:
G 54 Marcus Crenshaw 5-10 So. 11.8 2.7a 24 for 50 in 3-point FGs over last seven games; 17 points in 18 minutes vs. UCR
C 42 Andrew Green 6-6 Jr. 4.5 3.0r Had 8 points in 12 minutes vs. UC Riverside
F 43 Chris Minardo 6-10 So. 4.7 2.3r Had 5 points, 4 rebounds in 11 quality minutes at Pepperdine
F 34 Marcus Morgan 6-5 Jr. 2.2 2.6r Started first three games; sidelined by knee problem for three games
F 21 Kenneth Alexander 6-6 Jr. 4.0 3.5r Got first start vs. Bethune-Cookman; 6 rebounds in solid 25 minutes at UCLA
SERIES HISTORY: Long Beach State has won the last four meetings to extend its advantage over the Titans to 55-36 in the longest running rivalry in Fullerton history. The Titans had won four out of five before the recent 49ers' run which includes three wins last season. Fullerton is 3-9 at the Walter Pyramid, most recently winning on Jan. 15, 2004, 74-66.
ABOUT THE 49ers: Long Beach State (11-5, 2-1) is coming off a 90-83 loss at Cal State Northridge on Saturday that snapped a 9-game winning streak. The 49ers are 6-0 at home and have won 8 in a row dating to last season, a streak which began with a win over Fullerton. Three starters average in double figures -- Aaron Nixon, 16.7 ppg; Kejuan Johnson, 14.3; and Sterling Byrd, 12.7 -- and Kevin Houston is only two buckets shy at 9.8 ppg. Dominique Ricks is the top rebounder at 6.8 rpg.
ABOUT THE TITANS: The Titans are trying to post their third consecutive winning season, something that hasn't been done in Fullerton since Coach George McQuarn posted four winning records between 1981-82 and 1984-85. They got off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1989-90 and their 13-3 and 4-1 starts are the best since 1983-84 began the same. The Titans feature three returning "regulars" in seniors Bobby Brown at point guard and Justin Burns at center and junior guard Frank Robinson, who was the Big West Conference's "sixth-man" of the year in 2005-06. Four-year transfers Scott Cutley and Marcus Crenshaw from Kent State and Ray Reed from Georgetown have made an immediate impact along with community college transfers Kenneth Alexander and Marcus Morgan from West Valley, Andrew Green from College of the Sequoias and Chris Minardo from Citrus College. The five starters plus Crenshaw are all averaging in double figures in scoring.
THE COACH: Bob Burton is 61-44 in his fourth year at Cal State Fullerton and career. At .581, Burton has the second best winning percentage of any Titans' head coach, trailing only Bobby Dye (109-78, .583). A win at Long Beach State would move him ahead of Dye to .585.The recent 5-game winning streak matched a similar one in 2004-05 for the best of the Burton Era. He is 3-4 vs. Long Beach State, 1-2 in the Walter Pyramid.
ON THE ROAD: Under Bob Burton, the Titans have made dramatic strides as a road team. In the past two seasons plus this year to date they are 24-20 away from Titan Gym. In the previous 10 seasons the combined road record was 30-115. Burton's total CSF road record is 27-31.
FRIENDLY CONFINES: Under Coach Bob Burton, the Titans are 34-13 (.723) in Titan Gym and have a 13-game winning streak alive including 9-0 this season. In Big West play they are 3-0 at home, where they were only 2-5 last year.
NEW FRILLS: Not coincidental to the recent home success, a squad of cheerleaders was added to the home court ambience for last season. Along with a flag carrier and a new student band, they join the entertainment package headed by the dance team, which last weekend in Orlando, Florida, won its seventh national championship (Div. I, non-football schools).
OUT OF THE BLOCKS: With only two exceptions, the Titans have jumped out to double-digit first-half leads in every game this season, to wit: 14-2 at 15:24 vs. Cal Maritime; 24-12 at 10:10 vs. Hope; 17-7 at 15:19 at Lafayette; 33-23 at 9:26 at Eastern Washington; 14-3 at 14:43 vs. UTSA; 14-4 at 15:18 at UCLA; 13-2 at 15:42 at Pepperdine; 14-2 at 15:53 vs. Bethune Cookman, 24-14 at 7:41 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette; 16-6 at 12:06 vs. San Jose State; 41-31 at 6:22 at Cal Poly; 29-19 at 5:03 vs. CSUN; 27-17 at 7:01 vs. Pacific and 21-10 at 8:41 vs. UC Riverside. Interestingly, in the two slow starts -- at UTSA and at UCSB -- they fell behind by as many as 17 points in the first half but rallied to at least get even in the second half. And against CSUN, they rallied from an early 11-0 deficit to build their own double-digit advantage.
Bobby Brown: Senior point guard Bobby Brown is the focal point of the Cal State Fullerton program. An unheralded product of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, he has developed into one of the nation's finest players and an All-America candidate. He tested the NBA draft waters last summer but opted to return for his senior year. He has been nominated for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard and is on CollegeInsider.com's pre-season Mid-Major All-American team. He has made numerous pre-season All-Big West Conference teams and is projected as player of the year by many. Last year he was first-team All-Big West and second-team All-NABC District.
He needs 193 more points to become the Titans' all-time leading scorer, surpassing All-American, Olympic gold medalist and 6-year NBA veteran Leon Wood. He needs only 22 to pass Richard Morton for No. 2 at 1,705. At Pepperdine he passed Greg Bunch and Chris Dade to move into the No. 4 spot on the list and went to No. 3 ahead of Ike Harmon (at 1,557) during the second Louisiana-Lafayette game. Brown was selected Big West Conference player of the week after his 47-point game against Bethune-Cookman, the second highest scoring total in Big West history behind 53 by Raymond Lewis of Cal State L.A. on Feb. 23, 1973, vs. Long Beach State. The 46-year-old school record was 45 points by Jon Brettman vs. Luke Air Force Base on Dec. 12, 1960. The old school Div. I record was 38 by Richard Morton on Jan. 7, 1988, vs. UC Irvine. Eleven 3-point field goals broke the CSF mark of 10 by Ryan Dillon (Jan. 31, 2001, vs. Boise State) and tied the Big West record of Chris Brown of UC Irvine on Mar. 13, 1994, vs. New Mexico State. Bobby Brown had 12 points in the first 4:07 and 17 (of team's first 19) in the first 7:11.
AND MORE: Brown began the week among the Big West leaders in every category except rebounding and blocked shots. He was No. 1 in assists (5.54 apg), No. 1 in 3-point field goals (3.62 per game), No. 1 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.80), No. 2 in scoring (20.7 ppg), No. 3 in steals (1.69 per game), No. 3 in minutes played (33.92 per game), No. 4 in free-throw percentage (.773), No. 5 in 3-point field goal percentage (.461) and tied for No. 5 in field goal percentage (.525). National statistics through games of Jan. 11 had him No. 14 in scoring at 21.3 ppg, but he dropped down to 20.7 after a 14-point game against UCR. He was No. 6 in 3-point field goals made at 3.8 per game and No. 27 in 3-point field goal percentage before going 2-for-6 vs. the Highlanders.
Frank Robinson: The junior swingman has picked up his game with the onset of Big West Conference play, averaging 14.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in the five games. He just missed a double-double vs. UC Riverside with 15 points and a season-high 9 rebounds. He has a bizarre recent streak of 3-point field goal shooting. Beginning with the Bethune-Cookman game of Dec. 16, he has made in order, 0, 3, 0, 3, 0, 3, 0 and 3 treys in each game. He has attempted between 3 and 5 in the games with no makes and 5 or 7 in the games with three makes. He had a career-high 7 assists vs. Bethune Cookman. He was the key Titan off the bench last year when he was selected the "sixth man" of the year in the Big West Conference. He became a starter for the final three weeks of the season and played to an all-conference level, averaging 16.6 points over the last seven games capped by a 25-point, 12-rebound effort in defeat to Long Beach State in the semifinals of the post-season tournament. In the two previous games against the 49ers, he had 0 points and 3 rebounds in 12 minutes and 16 points and 9 rebounds in 24 minutes. For the 2005-06 season, he averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds.
Justin Burns: Senior center had a brilliant game vs. UC Riverside after two quiet games against Northridge and Pacific. He posted a double-double in the first half with 15 points and 10 rebounds, finishing with 19 points on 9-for-11 shooting and 14 rebounds, just shy of his career highs of 22 points and 16 rebounds. He begins the week ranked No. 3 in the Big West in rebounding at 7.2 per game and No. 8 in field-goal percentage at .487. He won Big West Conference Player of the Week honors in November when he posted a pair of double-doubles in victories at Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana-Lafayette. He had a career second-best of 21 points vs. Texas-San Antonio. With four double-doubles this season (tied for second best in the Big West), he has moved into the Titans' career Top 12 list with 9.
Scott Cutley: Junior forward from Kent State is playing with a splint on his left hand to protect a fracture to his thumb suffered in practice prior to the Bethune-Cookman game, which he missed. With the splint he has 97 points and 62 rebounds in the last 7 games. He finally qualified for the Big West Conference leader board by appearing in his 12th game of Fullerton's 16-game season and begins the week ranked No. 1 in rebounding at 9.0 per game, No. 7 in assists at 3.33 per game and No. 9 in field-goal percentage at .483. In the last four games he is 7-for-11 from the 3-point line after starting the year 2-for-13. He broke in with a bang, scoring 31 points with 11 rebounds in his Titan debut at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 24. It was only the 62nd 30-point game by a Titan at the Div. I level. He scored the game-tying buckets in the final minute of both regulation and overtime. He shares the Big West lead in double-doubles with five despite playing in only 12 games.
RAY REED: Georgetown transfer Ray Reed leads the Titans and the Big West Conference in steals (2.31) and is second on the team and fifth in the conference in assists (3.81 apg). He was in double figures in scoring in each of the first five games but then went five games in single digits until a 15-point effort vs. San Jose State. He made only 1 of 11 field goals at Pepperdine but since then is 27-for-50 (.540). He just missed a triple-double against Hope International when he had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists. He has attempted at least one free throw in every game except at UCLA.
Marcus Crenshaw: Sophomore transfer from Kent State is a leading candidate for the Big West Conference's "sixth man" award. Since starting the first 3 games in a roster shortage and averaging 18 points, he has come off the bench to average 11.2 as a substitute. Against UCR he scored 17 points in 18 minutes. He had 19 points in 18 minutes vs. San Jose State and 15 points in 20 minutes vs. Cal State Northridge. He is second on the team and in the Big West in 3-point field goals made at 2.75 per game. His .400 percentage is No. 7 in the conference. He is on pace to make 79 in a 29-game schedule which would be the third-best single-season total in CSF history. His total of 43 assists is No. 3 on the team.
HIGH-SCORING: Through games of Jan. 11, the Titans were fifth in the nation in scoring offense at 85.8 points per game and they moved that up to 86.6 with a 98-point effort vs. UCR on Saturday.
LIVING RIGHT: Twice this season the Titans have survived 3-point field goal tries by opponents at the buzzer that would have turned CSF victories into defeat. And both times it was the opponent's leading scorer -- Ross Mouton at Louisiana-Lafayette and Marvin Lea at Pepperdine -- taking the shot. Ironically, in both games, the Titans led by 18 in the first half -- 29-11 at ULaLa and 30-12 at Pepperdine.
CONNECTING FROM LONG DISTANCE: The Titans have been on a 3-point shooting spree in their last 9 games, making double-digit totals with the exception of Dec. 30 at UC Santa Barbara (5 of 20). In this span, they have attempted an average of 24.9 per game and made an average of 10.9. On Jan. 4 they attempted a school record 33 treys and made 13, just one shy of the school record which they matched by making 14 at Cal Poly on Dec. 28. The Titans are on a pace to make 264 treys in 674 attempts in a 29-game season. The makes would be a school record while the attempts would still fall shy of the 716 atempted in a 32-game schedule in 2004-05.
FREE THROW FUTILITY: Free throw shooting has not been a key component in Fullerton's current 3-game winning streak. The Titans have made only 27 of 60 (.450) and had a lower free-throw percentage (.391, 9 of 23) than 3-point field goal percentage (.394, 13 of 33) on Jan. 4 vs. Cal State Northridge. There is no listed school record for single-game free-throw futility, but it was close. Among the inglorious past performances were: 28.6 percent (4 of 14) at Pacific on Jan. 4, 2001; 36.8 percent (7 of 19) at Nevada on March 7, 1997; and 33.3 percent (3 of 9) at Long Beach State on Jan. 22, 1998. The Titans have had at least one game under .500 at the line for each season since 1991-92.
GO FIGURE: Fullerton is shooting only .632 from the foul line at home compared to .729 on the road. And in 13 wins, .657 at the line compared to .771 in the three losses. More typically, Fullerton is shooting .508 overall and .420 from 3-point range in nine home games vs. .442 and .353 in the seven road games.
WESTCHESTER CONNECTION: Westchester High School, one of California's most successful prep basketball programs in recent times, leaves a lot of flavor on the Titans' roster. Current players Bobby Brown, Scott Cutley and Jarrel Lake all played there while Titan Assistant Coach Marlon Morton was on the WHS staff. Last year's team had two more former Comets in Jerard Moret (who transferred to West L.A. College) and John Clemmons (eligibility expired). ONLY ONE NEW STOP: Lafayette, Louisiana, with its Cajundome was the only stop on the Titans' basketball itinerary this year where the Titans have not previously competed. (Pending the ESPNU Bracket Buster Jan. 29 assignment for Feb. 17). Conversely, three new opponents visited Titan Gym -- California Maritime, Bethune-Cookman and Louisiana-Lafayette.
RECORDS ARE FALLING: While the 2004-05 team dramatically changed the
direction of the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball program, the current
edition has found a way to make some history of its own in addition to the best
overall and conference records in 23 years. To wit: • largest margin of victory
in a conference game (40 points -- 98-58 vs. UC Riverside on Jan. 13)
• tied largest margin of victory for any game (52 points -- 108-56 vs. California Maritime on Nov. 10)
• most 3-point field goals attempted (33 vs. Cal State Northridge on Jan. 4)
• tied record for most 3-point field goals made (14 at Cal Poly on Dec. 28)
• most points in a losing effort (110-100 loss at Eastern Washington on Nov. 27)
• individual points in a game (47 by Bobby Brown vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 16)
• most 3-point field goals in a game by an individual (11 by Bobby Brown vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 16)