Titans Crush Long Beach State

The first day of March Madness proved to be tame for the Cal State Fullerton men's basketball team as it steamrolled past Long Beach State 85-51 in its home finale Saturday at the Titan Gym.

Scott Cutley led the senior night festivities for the Titans, finishing with 25 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and four steals to bounce back from the loss against Cal State Northridge on Thursday.

"This was my last game here and I wanted to make it a good one, and we got the win so that's all that matters," Cutley said.

The Titans, 19-8 and 11-4 in the Big West Conference, forced 30 turnovers and outscored the 49ers 40-1 on points off of turnovers to give Fullerton the largest scoring margin victory against the 49ers (6-22, 3-11) in school history.

Head Coach Bob Burton said the team didn't shoot very well and couldn't believe the turnover margin.

"The key was the pressure with the 30 turnovers," Burton said. "I don't think we played overly great, especially in the first half, but in the second half we created a lot of turnovers that led to easy baskets."

49er Head Coach Don Monson gave credit to the Titans defense.

"They turned up the pressure and we weren't able to handle it," Monson said.

The Titans trailed early, down 15-8 before finally breaking out and starting a 15-0 run midway through the half to take the lead for good.

With the score 34-28 entering the second half, CSUF made sure to bury any comeback hopes for Long Beach.

Josh Akognon got back into a groove, sparking another Titan 15-0 run with seven points to extend the lead to 49-28. The third-leading scorer in the Big West finished with 19 points and gave Cutley credit for the win.

"[Cutley] pulled us to the victory," Akognon said. "Him making shots, pumping everyone else up and just being the leader on and off the court. He's just doing what he does."

Cutley went down at the end of the first half. He was holding his back and had to be helped off the court.

"[When I went down] I was just thinking 'Not again,' " Cutley said.

He returned with one of his best halves of the season, scoring 15 points and seven rebounds.

"That's the Scott Cutley we need in the [Big West] Tournament," guard Frank Robinson said.

Once again the emerging presence of guard Ray Reed proved to be a major advantage for the Titans. The senior, despite playing with a sprained ankle, finished with 13 points, nine assists and one turnover in only 22 minutes.

"[Reed] has just been phenomenal," Burton said.

49er and Big West leading scorer Donovan Morris scored 25 points on 8-15 shooting.

"I don't know if anybody has an answer for Donovan Morris," Burton said. "Seemed like our guys were guarding him pretty good, but he's hard to keep down."

The Titans' Robinson inched closer to a school milestone with four points and four rebounds. With seven more rebounds, he will become only the 10th Titan to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in career, and the last to do so since Pape Sow during the 2002-04 seasons.

"Those numbers in three years would be big," Robinson said. "I've always wanted to leave my legacy when I leave."

Robinson will have two more chances in the regular season as the Titans finish their schedule this week and try to secure a top-two seed in the Big West Tournament against Cal State Bakersfield tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Rabobank Center. CSUF plays their season finale against UC Irvine at 7 p.m. at the Bren Center next Saturday.