Titans head coach Donny Daniels rubbed the back of his head and smiled outside the locker room after a game which saw the Titans win by the largest margin of victory (18) over any Div. I opponent in four years.
“We were waiting for this one,” he said.
They didn’t have to wait long. From the opening tip-off, Anthony Bolton streaked from the right wing for an easy lay up and the Titans never looked back.
“This is a real confidence booster for us,” said Ralphy Holmes, who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Building a lead that reached as high as 22, the Titans used a defensive-zone press that had the Wolverines confused for the majority of the first half.
The Titans defense forced 16 turnovers on the night, many of them off steals under the basket after the inbound pass, as the Wolverines struggled to get the ball across mid-court.
Junior Forward Pape Sow finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season, but the Titans seemed to have trouble at times feeding the ball into the post.
“We were being patient,” said Daniels, who was pleased his team didn’t try to force into the big guy.
Probably the most efficient player on the night was Bron Groomes who scored 15 points in 16 minutes of play. He fouled out with 6:19 left in the game, but received a nice ovation from the 623 fans in attendance.
Daniels was content with the team’s performance and the fact they were able to keep the defensive pressure on for most of the game.
“We sustained [the press], and that was the good thing, you have to remember we have five new guys trying to do it.” Daniels said.
Daniels started Amir Bar-Netzer at power-forward, saying he has earned it with his hustle and gusty play. Bar-Netzer finished with five points and two assists, but he brings an unparalleled energy to the court that his teammates feed off.
But it was Holmes who continues to turn heads.
“I said it from the very beginning, Ralphy Holmes will lead this team in offensive rebounds,” Daniels said. “He’s just that kind of player. He’s a high-octane guy.”
Holmes swiped the offensive glass five times while gliding up and down the court with a fire not seen in Fullerton for quiet some time.
“I play with a lot of energy,” Holmes said. “Coach stresses energy.”
Will they be able to sustain this type of energy and pressure against Pepperdine on Wednesday?
“Yes sir,” Holmes said.
Reshard Alonza was the Wolverines only real threat, scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Many of the Titans turnovers came after forcing the out-of-control Wolverines into offensive fouls. Daniels was impressed that even Sow stepped in and drew one.
“He finally took a charge,” Daniels said. “And that is something we are going to have to do so that we can win some games,”