Titan Basketball Hitting Their Stride

The Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team continued to show their dominance at the Titan Gym Saturday, beating fellow Big West Conference foe UC Irvine 75-60 in front of an uncharacteristically loud 1,869 fans.

Juniors Scott Cutley and Frank Robinson tallied 18 points each to help lead their team to a first place 6-2 conference record. Now 16-4, the Titans have matched their best 20-game start in school history.

"I thought tonight was the best performance we've had all year," CSUF Head Coach Bob Burton said.

The Titans had seven steals and kept the UCI offense on their heels the entire night, forcing them to shoot a dismal 35.8 percent from the field.

"I was really happy with the defense we played tonight … and we rebounded well too," Burton said.

The Titans only shot 47.7 percent, but made their possessions count by allowing a season low seven turnovers. Irvine turned the ball over 17 times.

The Titans remained unbeaten at home at 11-0 this season, and ran their home-winning streak to 15 games.

Irvine lead early out of the gate, but after a 7-0 run with all points scored by Cutley, Fullerton went ahead 25-20 and would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the night.

Fullerton began to pull away with 15:54 left in the game on a 17-6 run sparked by treys from Robinson, two from Cutley, one by Marcus Crenshaw and another from Robinson to put the score at 62-48 with 12 minutes to go.

As Irvine inched their way back into the game, Crenshaw sparked the offense again with a 3-pointer. He then made a steal and a no-look pass to the trailing Robinson for an explosive dunk. On the incoming play Robinson made a steal and broke free to repeat his demonstration on dunking.

Senior Justin Burns gave the Fullerton crowd one more exciting moment to cheer about with 1:45 left to play. Cutley collected a rebound and kicked the ball out to Burns who lit up the crowd with an uncontested dunk, sealing the game for the Titans.

After a record setting night, Cutley had 18 points and nine rebounds, leading his team in both categories.

"The key guy [for us] is Scott Cutley," Burton said of his junior forward. "Keeping him healthy and keeping him on the floor [is key]. He is a tremendous player that does all the things that win for you."

Senior Bobby Brown played 31 minutes, but only hit 3-11 from the field, and 0-4 from 3-point range. His teammates were able to pick up where he left off Saturday night.

"Last year, if [Bobby] and Jamaal Brown didn't play very good, we had trouble winning," Burton said. "Hopefully that means were a little better now."

With members from Saturday's baseball alumni game in attendance and the presentation for the Titan dance team's national championship trophy, the crowd was larger and louder than Burton thought it would be.

"The whole environment was great tonight," Burton said. "It was one of the best in the four years since I've been here … I think when the crowd got going it really helped us."

The Titans now begin a three-game road trip against UC Riverside, Pacific and Cal State Northridge. They return to Fullerton on Feb. 14 to host rival Long Beach State.

If the crowd is anything like Saturday's audience, Valentine's Day should be an exciting affair for the men's basketball team.