Fullerton Looks Towards the Big Picture

With only three games left in the regular season, Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team is getting ready to host Santa Barbara on Thursday and Cal Poly on Saturday at the Titan Gym.

It hasn't been a good week for the Titans, as they fell to 18-7 overall, while losing consecutive games for the first time this season.

The disappointing losses were handed to the Titans by rival Long Beach State last Wednesday and against Wright State in Ohio for the O'Reilly ESPNU Bracket Buster.

The Saturday loss at Wright State was particularly disheartening because the Titans had to travel all the way to Ohio just to play the game. Winning the Bracket Buster game would have given Fullerton more exposure and increased their chances of making it to the NCAA tournament.

Injuries are a concern for the Titans as the season is winding down. Guard Frank Robinson has been bothered by a nagging hamstring and forward Scott Cutley is suffering from a bone bruise in his leg.

Both have continued to play and show no signs of sitting out.

Cutley said it is important for the Titans to stay positive and was hopeful that the Titans could pick up the win at Wright State.

Ohio is special to Cutley because he played at Kent State before transferring to Fullerton.

Before the Long Beach State game, Titan Head Coach Bob Burton was contemplating whether he should even play Cutley.

"He had no lift but he just gave us a gutsy performance," Burton said following the Long Beach loss.

Catching Long Beach to gain first place in the Big West is an all but impossible challenge for the Titans.

Long Beach State would have to lose both of their conference games and the Titans would have to win their three remaining conference games.

"Its going to be hard to catch them, they [Long Beach State] are playing great," Burton said. "I want to give them all the credit."

The Titans have lost six consecutive games to Long Beach, and there is a possibility they could face off against them in order to win the Big West tournament.

"I'd give anything to play them [Long Beach State] because that mean's we're playing for the championship," Burton said.

It is important for Fullerton to beat Santa Barbara because it will be a battle for second place and a much desired No. 2 tournament seed, which includes a pair of byes.

With the Titans experiencing injury problems, Burton wants to make sure point guard Bobby Brown keeps his team intact as they roll through their final stretch.

Brown is one of the 13 finalists for the Div. I version of the Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the nation's top point guard by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Brown has been having an impressive season with a 19.8 points- per-game scoring average this season and is on Leon Wood's tail for most points scored by a CSUF men's basketball player.

"It's about your point guard leading your team to a win and playing great defense," Burton said. "But the things we need from him are tremendous defense and that leadership of getting everybody involved."