'Orange Curtain' juices up basketball games

The orange-clad fanatics scream and shout for Titan Athletics.

In section K of Titan Gym, a band of orange-clad fans cheer on their Cal State Fullerton basketball team.

"Let's go Titans, let's go," the fanatics shout.

Their cheers resonate across the gym as these face-painted fans pound their fists against the bleacher seats. Every home game this dedicated group of current students and alumni cheer their team on. Known as the "Orange Curtain," they are the sixth man on the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team that has amassed an impressive 18-7 record.

The group began last year as three students who simply enjoyed coming to basketball games.

"We just started coming to games and [we] liked getting fired up," junior Jordan Davis, a business marketing major and original member, said.

With their rousing cheers, the group quickly gained notoriety and began calling themselves the Orange Curtain, or the "OC" for short. The Orange Curtain has become an advocate for Titan sports, promoting attendance and participation at home games. The group has since grown from three to 50-plus students.

"It's good. [The OC] started pumping [up] the atmosphere and increasing attendance," Matt Lebouf, a senior who works in marketing and promotions for CSUF, said.

The ever-growing Orange Curtain hopes to create a fan atmosphere that can resemble the roaring crowds in many college gyms across the nation. While CSUF game attendance has been meager, the Orange Curtain hopes to one day fill the Titan Gym to its capacity of 3,500 seats. In their mission statement, the Orange Curtain calls athletics "an integral part of the college experience," also saying that "We dare [students] to take the challenge with us to make Titan basketball what it deserves to be."

One of the finest seasons in Titan Basketball history was in 1978, when an unknown Titan team finished in the top eight of the NCAA tournament. That underdog team was called the "Cal State Who?" and garnered nationwide attention with comeback wins against high ranking opponents. Titan fans rallied to support their team, chanting "We believe" at every game.

The Orange Curtain hopes that fans will help the 2008 team recapture the excitement of the "Cal State Who?" days. This should be aided by the fact that students who attend CSUF games receive free admission. Also during the game, free T-shirts, ice cream, and Chipotle restaurant coupons are thrown into the crowd. In addition, the halftime show features a shootout, where a student from the crowd can win free tuition for a semester. In order to win, a student has 30 seconds to make a lay-up, free throw, 3-pointer and a half-court shot.

In a recent away game against rival Cal State Northridge, the Orange Curtain amassed over 50 students to take a bus to Northridge. The raucous Orange Curtain fans succeeded in daunting the Northridge fans, cheering the Titans to an 80-72 comeback victory.

The Orange Curtain will cheer their team on when CSUF faces Cal State Northridge in a rematch for the Big West title today in the Titan Gym. The Matadors currently have a half-game lead over the Titans. They will hold a pre-game tailgate party at University Village at 5 p.m.