Titans Lose Season Opener

Honolulu, HI -- Cal State Fullerton loses it's first game of the season to Texas State 76-66 in the Verizon Wireless Tip-Off Classic at the University of Hawaii. The Titans had four players foul out including senior guard Josh Akognon.

Who Impressed

Gerard Anderson (The Titans Player of the Game). Anderson missed most of the first half with two quick fouls. Like most of the other Titans Gerard had early game (season) jitters but in the second half he demonstrated why he could become a dominate force in the Big West. He was aggressive and showed determination and was one of the main reasons for the second half comeback. Yes he made some poor decisions but I can not wait until he has about 5-10 games under his belt. Good handles, athletic, explosive and, despite the early misses, a good free throw shooter.

Aaron Thompson. Thompson was one of the few who looked solid throughout the entire game. No deer in the headlights look for him. He was rebounding, scoring and played good defense. He still does not have a full grasp of the offense which he was clearly reminded of during a late second-half by coach Burton. Overall he looked very good for an opening game but will need to cut down on those six turnovers. Would love to have seen him hit the second attempt on all those free throws as well. He impressed because he has come a long way from the early practices and Blue/White scrimmage. Expectations will now be higher for him.

Papa Guisse. Despite the fact he fouled out he was not hesitant in shooting the ball from the outside when he had open looks (and Texas State offered very few of those with their pressure, in-your-face defense). He just seemed to be in on the action and all over the floor so that is why he was put in this category.

Who Depressed

The seniors Marcio Lassiter and Josh Akognon. Josh took some wild shots, as he often does, but this time they just didn't fall. What really hurt, however, was him fouling out with nearly 16 minutes left in the game, right after we had trimmed a 20-point lead down to 12. It was clearly a bad call by the referee (Texas St player recklessly forcing himself through a double team 25 feet from the basket) but he also had four other fouls. While it could be said that the team actually looked better without him, bottom line is we needed him in the game as he came out in the second half looking much more confident and determined to put the team on his shoulders. Also didn't like the fact he seemed to sulk at the end of the bench late in the game. He did try to pump the guys up during timeouts when we were making a run so perhaps he felt the team wasn't responding. Nevertheless, just fake it if that's what it takes.

Lassiter, on the other hand, simply looked overwhelmed on the floor in all aspects. He had some really bad turnovers, could not hit any wide open shots and his defense and hustle weren't all that good either. Case in point: After cutting the lead down to six, and the momentum in our favor, we seemed to have a defensive stop when the ball was batted around the court a few times and a loose ball went his way. He literally stood and watched as the Texas State players scrambled and hustled to the ball to regain possession. The Titans were then rewarded 5 seconds later with a three-point dagger to halt the momentum. Looking back that was the ballgame right there.

To be fair it could have been tired legs from playing so many minutes but he didn't look good during any part of this game. As a senior we need Marcio to step up and show the rest of the newcomers how to perform at this level. I expect him to come out strong in the next game against Hawaii.

Ray Miller. Simply put he could not have had a worse start to his career at Cal State Fullerton. This line pretty much says it all: 8 minutes, 0 points, 5 fouls, 2 turnovers. Like Lassiter expect him to have a much better game on Sunday. Sometimes players need games like this to get them going.

The Ressed

Jacques Streeter. Streeter struggled against the press in the first half but looked much better in the second. He hit one of the two three-pointers for the Titans and also had five rebounds which showed he was really going after it. I thought he could have brought the ball up a lot faster but that could have been a game-plan type of thing. He had only one turnover and seemed to avoid those freshman mistakes. Very close to Impressed.

Ameer Shamsud-din. Looked good for a freshman playing in his first game of the season. Didn't see a whole lot of action early on in the second half but this was because the team -- and Streeter -- was playing much better. I think the battle for point is still up for grabs. Streeter is more mature but I felt Ameer, with his height advantage, brought the ball up the court more confidently.

Adam Thomas. Thomas had some good defensive plays and a couple nice rebounds but he is clearly still learning how to play the game. This showed when he went up for his only shot two feet from the basket near the baseline and missed by four feet. For a first game he played admirably. He has actually come a long way since the beginning of practice so if this continues he might to see playing time even when Papa and Ray aren't in foul trouble.

Regan Andersen. Didn't play a whole lot but he showed some hustle. He didn't look out of place out there but Texas State players clearly had a size and girth advantage.

TitanCentral.com Spin. The Titans played poorly but nothing unexpected for the first game of the season. Too many times during the game the Titans left their feet with nowhere to go and this is something I am sure they will fix. They also missed a ton of layups but I attribute a lot of this to playing in their first real game of the season. Leadership seems to be a problem but Gerard looks like a natural, and once he settles in, I expect the team to lean on him. Texas State plays similar to Northridge so this gives the team plenty of things to work on in preparation for the Big West Conference favorite.