Titans defeat Hawai'i for first win

Honolulu, HI -- Senior guard Josh Akognon scored a Stan Sheriff Center record 41 points as Cal State Fullerton pulled away for a 90-76 victory at Hawai'i Sunday night in the Verizon Tip-Off Men's Basketball Classic.


Josh Akognon (Player of the Game): Akognon caught Island Fever in a big -- and good -- way. His 12-29 field goal performance is a bit misleading as he scored 41 points and hit 7-18 from beyond the arc in addition to 10-11 on free throws. Nearly every missed shot was either a layup or just barely in-and-out. Numerous UH fans were overheard saying he was NBA material. One UH fan was so amazed he began cheering -- before he caught himself -- whenever he scored or made a nice play. Josh had a couple Bobby Brown moments where he left defenders with broken ankles, figuratively speaking. Akognon still has to play better defense if he is going to be a lock in next year's NBA draft but this showing certainly made up for Friday's debacle.

Jacques Streeter. Did I say the point guard position was still up for grabs? Well it may not be any more. Streeter was phenomenal. Nine assists, very solid defense and hit some clutch free throws. It just boggles the mind that he is only a freshman after watching a game like this. It's going to be a fun four years seeing him grow. He had numerous perfect passes and made great decisions all night. Akognon owes him a lunch for hitting him in stride on many of those 3-point attempts. Clearly his position to lose at this point.

Marcio Lassiter: Went from having an okay game to Clutch with one shot. Hawaii was making a run midway through the second half and then Marcio hit a huge 25 foot three-pointer to take away any momentum. UH fans let out a gigantic sigh when the shot fell through the nets. As predicted, C-O played much better but still would like him to take on more of a leadership role.

Gerard Anderson: Another great game for Gerard. He had 10 points, 7 boards, 4 steals, 2 assists and one enormous block of a three-pointer by Lasha Parghalava late in the game (when UH still had some hope). Look for this block to show up on YouTube in the future. His competitiveness on the court also gives the Titans a needed boost. With Papa and Miller in foul trouble it was good to see Gerard avoid this problem in the second game.

Not So Much

Ray Miller: 10 fouls and 2 points in two games is probably about as bad as it can get. He did more than double his playing time (18 minutes) over the first game before fouling out but there's more to it than just the fouls. He is struggling with the offense and is out of position on defense but it's early and the Titans will need him to step up. Based on seeing him in practices he will turn it around soon so be patient Titan fans.


Papa Guisse: Once again in foul trouble but made it through until the end with four as the Titans defense went to a zone. He was active and, again, hit a couple outside shots. If he can come up with a post game he will be more valuable on this team. Defense looked solid and has performed better than expected thus far.

Aaron Thompson. Like Miller, Thompson is having trouble adjusting to "the system". Based on his performance in the first game he started over Marcio. The boxscore also doesn't show he did make some nice plays. After seeing him in practice he has come a long ways already and should only get better. He is a gamer, for sure.

Ameer Shamsud-din. Only 6 minutes but it wasn't because of his play as he was backing up Streeter and with Akognon playing 40 minutes just didn't get a chance to shine this game. He did come in and hit a big three to end the first half.

Adam Thomas. Only 6 minutes but still needs to be more aggressive. He was easily pushed around by the UH players. Post play is certainly a weakness for the Titans so there is plenty of opportunity for him.

TitanCentral.com Spin. Fun game to watch. It's not very often you get to see one of your own set an arena record for scoring on an opponents floor. And being able to see it in Hawaii? Life is good. Also good to see the Titans come back after struggling in the first.

One thing that is very clear is that coaching makes a big difference in college basketball.

Yes, you need good players (which is part of coaching) but you also need to be able to manage the game. Coach Burton clearly out-coached UH's Nash. From the start you had to wonder why they were playing Akognon straight up. And some of his substitutions and distribution of minutes were questionable. Section KAOS would have given Nash an earful were he the Titans head coach. I've said it before and I'll ay it again: It's nice to have a staff that wants to win -- and hates to lose -- as much as the diehards.