Due to NCAA rules, no statistics can be recorded, no winner can be declared and no one outside the "personnel necessary to conduct a basketball practice scrimmage" circle can even see it. (For more information on closed scrimmages, see this article) Sources close to the program, however, say the coaches of Cal State Fullerton were pleasantly relieved with the results of the first action against an opposing team. (If you are desperate for stats and a score see this post on the TitanCentral.com message boards)
While the Titans were missing the services of Scott Cutley, out at least three more weeks due to a broken ankle, as well as Gerard Anderson and Adam Thomas, who are planning to take redshirt years, all remaining players saw plenty of action. The top highlights for the Titans included the play of newcomer Josh Akognon and senior Frank Robinson as well as the pressure defense by the entire team.
Ray Reed was especially effective on the defensive side and Marcus Crenshaw was back into the swing of things nailing his patented high-arc, long-range missiles. Crenshaw and JC transfer point guard Junior Russell also played very good defense against the bigger opponents.
Overall, the team played really well, especially when you consider that only one week ago the coaches were not too optimistic on how the Titans played in the Blue & White Scrimmage.
While the guard play may have been outstanding, the front court still has plenty of room for improvement. Eddie Lima, who still needs to get into playing shape, played well during his somewhat limited time but Kenneth Alexander and Marcus Morgan just played okay. It was, however, encouraging to see them hold their own against the much taller, very athletic 6-9, 6-10, and 6-11 USC players, especially on the defensive end.
O.J. Mayo, Southern Cal's highly touted 6-5 freshman guard and likely 2008 NBA lottery pick, was as good as advertised. Just about every one of Cal State Fullerton's players ended up guarding him at some point.
Overall, this was a good step in the right direction for the Titans who have an exhibition game against Biola University on Tuesday (7:05 PM Tipoff). The 2007-08 season opener is on Friday, in historic Titan Gym against CS Bakersfield.
If you were a fly on the wall wearing orange and you had been keeping score the Titans probably came away with the victory. The reality of the situation is, however, this was a scrimmage and coaches are experimenting with numerous offenses and defenses and are not coaching to win the game. The best news is the Titans held their own, played good defense and came away with a much better understanding of what they need to work on.